1990-04-01

Making Spacecraft Affordable: An Assessment of Alternatives 901020

This paper evaluates four proposals for reducing the costs of spacecraft and other payloads. It concludes that: (1) Using a standard bus, if available, could save up to two-thirds the cost of using a customized bus. (2) Payloads could cost less if allowed to be heavier. A Titan-class payload might cost about $130 million less if allowed to be five times as heavy. (3)Anticipating greater-than-expected payload weight growth during development reduces risks of delay and expense for redesign. The optimal weight margin to allow at the beginning of full-scale development is about 11 to 12 percent for a Titan-class payload. (4) A swarm of small satellites might be as effective for some missions as a single large satellite, and possibly more economical, because smaller satellites typically cost much less per kilogram than do large ones.

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