Kennedy Space Center NextGen Website

Space Transportation and Space Systems "-ilities"

Affordability, Competitiveness, Reliability, Safety, Maintainability, Operability, Sustainability & Responsiveness


  • Larry D. Welch, General, USAF (Ret.) "The Report of the Independent Review Committee on SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1 Certification," Institute for Defense Analysis, 2015.
  • "There is a lack of clarity regarding what the Certifying Official is actually addressing."

    "Neither view was the intent of the original certification plan. The intent was a partnership that leveraged the commercial practices and experience of SpaceX and decades of Air Force experience to meet the needs of the Air Force for confidence in the capability and reliability of the SpaceX launch system. In particular, it was never envisioned that the Air Force would drive changes in design, processes, and organization to achieve certification. Neither was it expected the Falcon 9 launch experience would suffice to provide the needed confidence in Falcon 9 v1.1 for national security payloads. Instead, it was expected there would be a manageable set of issues requiring resolution, some requiring resolution at the top level."

  • The NASA Cost Estimating Handbook Version 4.0


  • [Paper] [Presentation] Edgar Zapata, Carey McCleskey, "An Analysis and Review of Measures and Relationships in Space Transportation Affordability," 50th AIAA / SAE / ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference, 2014.





  • "James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), Independent Comprehensive Review Panel (ICRP), Final Report (.pdf)," 2010.
  • "As shown in Figure 5.1, the Project Budget showed that peak funding would occur in the same year as the Project PDR and that Project costs would go down by 16% in FY 2009 and 58% in FY 2011. Historically, the cost profiles of projects continue to increase after PDR. Based on the technical status of the Project, the prior deferral of spacecraft development, and the complexity of the integration and testing phase, this was a highly suspect budget profile."
  • Edgar Zapata, Russel Rhodes, John W. Robinson, "Launch Vehicle Propulsion Life Cycle Cost Lessons Learned (.pdf)," American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Joint Propulsion Conference, 2010.


  • Edgar Zapata, Daniel J. H. Levack, Russel Rhodes, John W. Robinson, "Shuttle Shortfalls and Lessons Learned for the Sustainment of Human Space Exploration (.pdf)," 45th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference, 2009.
  • Glenn Butts, Kent Litton, "The Joint Confidence Level Paradox, A History of Denial (.pdf)," NASA Cost Symposium, 2009.
  • "This type of error is not the exception - but the rule. The paradox that remains to be solved can be framed into the following question: How do we estimate something we don't yet know we need? A variation of this question is: How do we estimate requirements which management is not yet prepared to acknowledge? When "deferred or unrecognized requirements" are finally clear enough to deal with, the Change Requests (CR's) initiated inevitably affect cost and schedule in a problematic way. Too often (by the end of the project) final costs incurred were not based on the initial BOE, thus making it impossible to reconcile final costs with initial estimates. When the real costs eventually come home to roost and the full extent of project growth can be clearly seen, the estimator rightfully states that what was actually built - was NOT what was originally estimated."


  • Carey M. McCleskey, William R. Claybaugh, "Independent Space Operators: Gaining a Voice in Design for Operability (.pdf)," American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, SpaceOps 2006.
  • "Affordable and sustainable space exploration remains an elusive goal. We explore the competitive advantages of evolving towards independent operators for space transportation in our economy. We consider the pros and cons of evolving business organizations that operate and maintain space transportation system assets independently from flight system manufacturers and from host spaceports."


  • A.C. Charania, J. Wallace, Dr. B. St. Germain, Dr. J. Olds, SpaceWorks Engineering Inc., "Design for Operations Final Report (.pdf)," Prepared for NASA, Kennedy Space Center, March 16, 2004.
  • A.C. Charania, Jon Wallace, Dr. John R. Olds, Edgar Zapata, "Design for Operations of Future Reusable Launch Systems (.pdf)," International Astronautical Congress, Vancouver, Canada, 2004.
  • "Designers of space launch systems should be cognizant of the impact of their design assumptions on operational characteristics. Operational metrics such as turnaround time, recurring cost, and headcount are critical factors for the future viability of such systems. The results presented here are from a study that seeks to determine in what manner design approaches can improve the operability of future space launch systems. This is accomplished by applying such operational approaches at the start of the concept design process."
  • The Shuttle Root Cause Analysis, 2003-2004.



  • "Alternate Trajectories - Options for Competitive Sourcing of the Space Shuttle Program" Report of the Space Shuttle Competitive Sourcing Task Force, RAND, 2002.







Comparison of Average and Marginal Cost Per Flight in Millions of Current Dollars
From pp.10, one of the more unique cost analysis of the entire Shuttle program.


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