The cosmos on a shoestring: small spacecraft for space and earth science
Liam Sarsfield, United States. Office of Science and Technology Policy, Critical Technologies Institute (Rand Corporation)
RAND, Mar 25, 1998 - Science - 185 pages
Small spacecraft have become popular for a number of reasons, most prominently the needs to reduce overall cost, be built more quickly, and spread mission risks. NASA has been challenged with crafting a program that continues to produce meaningful science within the constraints of the available budget. Still, pound for pound, small spacecraft are not precisely inexpensive, given the effects of complexity, launch costs, and a greater degree of risk. Historically, science spacecraft have demonstrated increasing reliability, but this trend might not continue, given the shift to managed risk. There is generally less money available to smaller programs to test spacecraft functions and operational procedures prior to launch. Small spacecraft are also generally less robust. Efforts to reduce failure potentials through the application of more reliable components, better testing, and advanced design techniques should receive greater attention. Despite the risks, however, small spacecraft fulfill important roles in earth science, astrophysics, space physics, and planetary science. NASA's current generation of small spacecraft is capable of impressive levels of performance.
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advanced technology Air Force analysis Appendix applications budget Center commercial complexity components demonstrator design environments design process effects efforts electronic engineers evaluate example Explorer factors failure rates flight funds future goal GPRA GSFC high-reliability Home Homepage IDIQ important increasing instrument integration kilogram launch Lockheed Martin Mars Global Surveyor Mars Observer Mars Pathfinder Mars Surveyor measurement metrics MicroSpacecraft MIDEX Millennium Program milspecs mission cost models NASA NASA's National Reconnaissance Office Office operating Orbiter PEMs percent performance physics-of-failure approach planetary process improvement projects quality and reliability radiation reduce redundancy reliabil requirements risk SAMPEX science missions science spacecraft scientific significant Small Satellite small spacecraft missions small spacecraft programs smaller SMEX Solar space environment Space Science space systems spacecraft builders spacecraft cost spacecraft design spacecraft development spacecraft failure spacecraft systems spacecraft technology strategy subsystems technical technology planning trends