Incorporating Uncertainty Into Conceptual Design of Space System Architectures
Author(s)Hastings, Daniel E.; Weigel, Annalisa; Walton, Myles A.
The environment in which space systems are developed and operated can be classified as nothing less than dynamic. However, it is clear that the methods and tools relied on in conceptual design are based on static assumptions and leave little room for anything more than snapshots of the product and its environment. This paper introduces an approach to challenge that model and instead quantify and compare space system architectures around the central theme of uncertainty, with emphasis on policy uncertainty, as well as, technical and market uncertainty. Two cases of implementation are presented and three generalized principles are proposed that flow from the analysis: 1) engineering systems must be designed with uncertainty as one of the central organizing principles, 2) since engineering systems have management and social dimensions and thus involve human interactions, there is an irreducible uncertainty associated with these dimensions that will affect the design of the system, and 3) uncertainty in use may allow the engineering system to satisfy quite different missions from the original one intended.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering Systems Division
ESD Working Papers;ESD-WP-2003-01.01-ESD Internal Symposium