1993-07-01

Life Support Technology Investment Strategies for Flight Programs: An Application of Decision Analysis 932064

Applied research and technology development (R&TD) is often characterized by uncertainty, risk, and significant delays before tangible returns are obtained. Given the increased awareness of limitations in resources, effective R&TD today needs a method for up-front assessment of competing technologies to help guide technology investment decisions. Such an assessment approach must account for uncertainties in system performance parameters, mission requirements and architectures, and internal and external events influencing a development program. The methodology known as decision analysis has the potential to address these issues. It was evaluated by performing a case study assessment of alternative carbon dioxide removal technologies for NASA's proposed First Lunar Outpost program. An approach was developed that accounts for the uncertainties in each technology's cost and performance parameters as well as programmatic uncertainties such as mission architecture. Life cycle cost savings relative to a baseline, adjusted for the cost of money, was used as a figure of merit to evaluate each of the alternative carbon dioxide removal technology candidates. The methodology was found to provide a consistent decision-making strategy for development of new life support technology. The case study results provided insight that was not possible from more traditional analysis approaches.

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