Introduction and Overview

Table 1-1 summarizes our approach to the space mission analysis and design process. Space missions range widely from communications, to planetary exploration, to proposals for space manufacturing, to burial in space. No single process can fully cover all contingencies, but the method in Table 1-1 summarizes a practical approach evolved over the first 40 years of space exploration.

Space is expensive. Cost is a fundamental limitation to nearly all space missions and is becoming more so. Consequently, this and subsequent tables reflect the assessment of each author on how things traditionally have been done and how they should be done differently, both to lower cost and to achieve the greatest return from die space investment

Analysis and design are iterative, gradually refining both the requirements and methods of achieving them. Thus, we must repeat the broad process defined in Table 1-1 many times for each mission. The first several iterations may take only a day, but more detailed assessments will take far longer.

Successive iterations through Table 1-1 will usually lead to a more detailed, better-defined space mission concept But we must still return regularly to the broad mission objectives and search for ways to achieve them at a lower cost In defining and refining the approach, there is strong pressure to proceed to ever greater detail, and never revise a decision once it has been made. Although we must maintain orderly progress, we must also review the mission design regularly for better ways to achieve the mission objectives. Methods may change as a result of evolving technology, a new understanding of the problem, or simply fresh ideas and approaches as more individuals become involved.

TABLE t-1. The Space Mission Analysis and Design (SMAD) Process. Tables of this type appear throughout the book. The far right column refers to sections In the book that give details of each step. See text for further explanation.

Typical Flow



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