Guidelines and Metrics for Assessing Space System Cost Estimates

by Bernard Fox, Kevin Brancato, Brien Alkire


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This handbook is designed to help analysts evaluate cost estimates of space systems. It assumes the reader understands common cost analysis methodologies but has limited experience with space systems. Its objectives are to help the analyst who is tasked with reviewing an estimate to plan the review; to identify the key programmatic, technical, and cost data needed; to highlight common issues to investigate; and to provide typical cost ranges for components of relevant historical space programs. The book supplements the Air Force Cost Analysis Agency’s spacecraft training course by focusing on the cost analysis implications of the systems and processes covered in the course. Appendixes provide relevant source material and suggested checklists.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Space System Fundamentals

  • Chapter Three

    Reviewing a Cost Estimate

  • Chapter Four

    Space Vehicle Cost Crosschecks

  • Chapter Five

    Common Issues in Estimating Space Programs

  • Chapter Six

    Resources for Space System Cost Estimation

  • Chapter Seven


  • Appendix A

    MIL-HDBK-881B Space Systems WBS

  • Appendix B


  • Appendix C

    MIL-HDBK-881A Space Systems WBS

  • Appendix D


  • Appendix E

    OSD CAIG Criteria for Cost Estimates

  • Appendix F

    Cost Risk Checklist

  • Appendix G

    Recalculating Crosscheck Prediction Intervals

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The research reported here was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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