Space Exploration Architecture and Design Framework for Commercialization
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The trend of space commercialization is changing the decision-making process for future space exploration architectures, and there is a growing need for a new decision-making framework that explicitly considers the interactions between the mission coordinator (i.e., government) and the commercial players. In response to this challenge, this paper develops a framework for space exploration and logistics decision making that considers the incentive mechanism to stimulate commercial participation in future space infrastructure development and deployment. By extending the state-of-the-art space logistics design formulations from the game-theoretic perspective, the relationship between the mission coordinator and commercial players is first analyzed, and then the formulation for the optimal architecture design and incentive mechanism in three different scenarios is derived. To demonstrate and evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed framework, a case study on lunar habitat infrastructure design and deployment is conducted. Results show how total mission demands and in-situ resource utilization system performances after deployment may impact the cooperation among stakeholders. As an outcome of this study, an incentive-based decision-making framework that can benefit both the mission coordinator and the commercial players from commercialization is derived, leading to a mutually beneficial space exploration between the government and the industry.