Economic Uncertainty of Weight and Market Parameters for Advanced Space Launch Vehicles
Whitfield, Jeff A.
Olds, John R.
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This paper reports the results of a study that evaluated the economic risk inherent in market variability and the uncertainty of developing weight estimates for an advanced space launch vehicle program. The purpose of this study was to determine the sensitivity of a business case for advanced space flight design with respect to the changing nature of market conditions and the complexity of determining accurate weight estimations during the conceptual design phase. The expected uncertainty associated with these two factors drives the economic risk of the overall program. The study incorporates Monte Carlo simulation techniques to determine the probability of attaining specific levels of economic performance when the market and weight parameters are allowed to vary. This structured approach toward uncertainties allows the assessment of risks associated with a launch vehicle program's economic performance. This results in the determination of the value of the additional risk placed on the project by these two factors.