A hybrid probabilistic method to estimate design margin
Robertson, Bradford E.
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Weight growth has been a significant factor in nearly every space and launch vehicle development program. In order to account for weight growth, program managers allocate a design margin. However, methods of estimating design margin are not well suited for the task of assigning a design margin for a novel concept. In order to address this problem, a hybrid method of estimating margin is developed. This hybrid method utilizes range estimating, a well-developed method for conducting a bottom-up weight analysis, and a new forecasting technique known as executable morphological analysis. Executable morphological analysis extends morphological analysis in order to extract quantitative information from the morphological field. Specifically, the morphological field is extended by adding attributes (probability and mass impact) to each condition. This extended morphological field is populated with alternate baseline options with corresponding probabilities of occurrence and impact. The overall impact of alternate baseline options can then be estimated by running a Monte Carlo analysis over the extended morphological field. This methodology was applied to two sample problems. First, the historical design changes of the Space Shuttle Orbiter were evaluated utilizing original mass estimates. Additionally, the FAST reference flight system F served as the basis for a complete sample problem; both range estimating and executable morphological analysis were performed utilizing the work breakdown structure created during the conceptual design of this vehicle.