Manned Spacecraft Cost-Estimating Relationships

by Harry G. Campbell, Dave J. Dreyfuss

A generalized set of manned-spacecraft cost-estimating relationships are presented, along with a discussion of the cost data on which they are based, an explanation of their derivation, and comments on their use and limitations. A description of spacecraft subsystems and the major items of cost are also included. The basic approach is to collect costs by subsystem, to identify major items of cost within subsystems, and to relate these to physical and/or performance characteristics of the subsystem or the spacecraft. Sixteen subsystems are considered, and three cost-estimating relationships (relating to initial engineering, development support, and production cost) are developed for each. Such items as ground support equipment, trainers and simulators, launch support, and spares are treated at the spacecraft level. A simple program designed for use on a time-sharing, on-line computer system is derived that calculates the estimates of development, production, and launch operation costs, and considerably reduces the effort involved in making advanced spacecraft cost estimates.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research memorandum series. The Research Memorandum was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1973 that represented working papers meant to report current results of RAND research to appropriate audiences.

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