Acquisition strategies for commonality across complex aerospace systems-of-systems
Author(s)Wicht, Anthony C. (Anthony Charles)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Edward F. Crawley.
MetadataShow full item record
Commonality is a system architecting strategy widely used to improve affordability and reliability of families of products. However not all commonality is beneficial, and organizations must balance commonality benefits and commonality costs to pursue a successful strategy. The existing literature on commonality assumes that all commonality decisions are made within a single organization. This is not the case for NASA's human exploration architectures which are acquired through a network of prime contractors and sub-contractors. This thesis examines how the acquisition strategies chosen for NASA's human exploration architectures affect the realization of commonality in those architectures, and suggests ways in which acquisition architectures can be planned to improve commonality outcomes. The thesis synthesizes the requirements of NASA's exploration architectures and commonality best practice from existing literature. It also examines the Federal Acquisition Regulations in detail to assess the limitations on government acquisition structures in the United States, and postulates a range of acquisition structures open to NASA. New research data is presented which specifically targets the interplay between acquisition and commonality. An assessment of practitioners' views on acquisition strategies for commonality examines three detailed case studies as well as summarizing a broad range of shorter interviews across NASA and DOD projects. Each of the postulated acquisition structures is evaluated against the NASA acquisition requirements and the synthesized commonality best practice. The evaluation demonstrates that current NASA acquisition strategies are geared towards commonality through reuse of existing components and systems, and forward-thinking investment in future commonality opportunities is unlikely. New strategies which involve less emphasis on competition between contractors in favor of greater continuity with experienced contractors are recommended to improve commonality. However, the commonality advantages from such strategies may be offset in a wider perspective by the costs of using such noncompetitive acquisition structures.
Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2011.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 184-195).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Aeronautics and Astronautics.