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Proceedings Paper

Update on multivariable parametric cost models for ground and space telescopes
Author(s): H. Philip Stahl; Todd Henrichs; Alexander Luedtke; Miranda West
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Paper Abstract

Parametric cost models can be used by designers and project managers to perform relative cost comparisons between major architectural cost drivers and allow high-level design trades; enable cost-benefit analysis for technology development investment; and, provide a basis for estimating total project cost between related concepts. This paper reports on recent revisions and improvements to our ground telescope cost model and refinements of our understanding of space telescope cost models. One interesting observation is that while space telescopes are 50X to 100X more expensive than ground telescopes, their respective scaling relationships are similar. Another interesting speculation is that the role of technology development may be different between ground and space telescopes. For ground telescopes, the data indicates that technology development tends to reduce cost by approximately 50% every 20 years. But for space telescopes, there appears to be no such cost reduction because we do not tend to re-fly similar systems. Thus, instead of reducing cost, 20 years of technology development may be required to enable a doubling of space telescope capability. Other findings include: mass should not be used to estimate cost; spacecraft and science instrument costs account for approximately 50% of total mission cost; and, integration and testing accounts for only about 10% of total mission cost.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 September 2012
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 8442, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2012: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave, 844224 (21 September 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.926363
Show Author Affiliations
H. Philip Stahl, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Todd Henrichs, Middle Tennessee State Univ. (United States)
Alexander Luedtke, Brown Univ. (United States)
Miranda West, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8442:
Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2012: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave
Mark C. Clampin; Giovanni G. Fazio; Howard A. MacEwen; Jacobus M. Oschmann, Editor(s)

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