Guidance for Trade Studies of Flight-Equivalent Hardware
Spacecraft hardware trade studies compare options primarily on mass while considering impacts to cost, risk, and schedule. Historically, other factors have been considered in these studies, such as reliability, technology readiness level (TRL), volume and crew time. In most cases, past trades compared two or more technologies across functional and TRL boundaries, which is an uneven comparison of the technologies. For example, low TRL technologies with low mass were traded directly against flight-proven hardware without consideration for requirements and the derived architecture. To provide for even comparisons of spacecraft hardware, trades need to consider functionality, mission constraints, integer vs. real number of flight hardware units, and mass growth allowances by TRL.