Aerospace Systems Design: Economics as a New Way of Thinking? 2003-01-3058
One of the major impetuses for the development of modern, robust design methodologies is the need for affordable aerospace systems. Because the affordability of a system is directly tied to the economics of developing, manufacturing, operating, and disposing of that system, it has become common practice to perform an economic analysis of a potential system to evaluate its viability. Additionally, as needs for improved modeling, analysis, and evaluation capability have arisen, several techniques which have proved themselves popular in economics have been adopted. While adopting these techniques has improved the capabilities of the designer/engineer, they do not proceed far enough. That is aerospace systems design, and consequently all complex systems design, could actually be considered an exercise in economics. All of the players, i.e. designers, firms, end users, and the systems themselves can be considered microeconomic entities. Consequently, all of the tools available when analyzing microeconomics become available to the design engineer. Further, it may be possible to apply broader macroeconomic theory to understand interactions between systems, and the surrounding environment.