Cost and risk analysis of small satellite constellations for earth observation
Distributed Space Missions (DSMs) are gaining momentum in their application to Earth science missions owing to their ability to increase observation sampling in spatial, spectral, temporal and angular dimensions. Past literature from academia and industry have proposed and evaluated many cost models for spacecraft as well as methods for quantifying risk. However, there have been few comprehensive studies quantifying the cost for multiple spacecraft, for small satellites and the cost risk for the operations phase of the project which needs to be budgeted for when designing and building efficient architectures. This paper identifies the three critical problems with the applicability of current cost and risk models to distributed small satellite missions and uses data-based modeling to suggest changes that can be made in some of them to improve applicability. Learning curve parameters to make multiple copies of the same unit, technological complexity based costing and COTS enabled small satellite costing have been studied and insights provided.
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Big Sky, MT, USA