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There are several approaches that have been used from time to time in planetary missions. These approaches have either been market based or non-market based approaches. Market based approach is what we seek to address and discuss in our paper. This paper seeks to discuss different projects that have been carried out, identify problems that might have been encountered, give an analysis of each of this project, its schedule and the risks involved.
In essence, the paper discusses and analyses the processes of management applied on NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn. Cassini was first launched in October 15, 1997 as an international mission to explore planet Saturn. This mission was unique in the sense that the science team was allocated a whole science instrument resource (Randii and Porter, 245).
The market based approach system majorly uses currency as a way of showing demand for a limited resource. The currency is used in exchange for a desired commodity. This approach has been preferred for ages. Its first successful venture was done in 1992. It was tried out on the Cassini mission to Saturn. The market based approach system involves creating an economy by defining 3 quantities (Arrow, 944).
These quantities are:
- Currency and its use.
- Resources to be allocated.
- The rules for making and keeping track of trades Background
Instrument development for planetary missions begins with the acceptance of proposals from many investigators to build and operate instruments for a specific mission. Companies and organizations running projects assign resources like data rate, mass, power, and money to the identified investigating organisations and groups depending on whether their missions are approved based on their proposals.
These supporting officials also have to take into consideration the mission constraints. They do it by going into details of previous missions, their successes and failures. However, most previous missions had a recurring trend of going past their resource allocation. This creates a burden and a constraint on the officials when it comes to allocating resources to new ventures and investigators.
Initially, missions were organized by committee driven processes in carrying out their scientific planning. These were also referred to as serial dictator processes. In this approach, there is the introduction of an impartial third party who is brought in to help allocate resources among the different users. This was done in order to ensure full impartiality.
There are two major projects outlined:
a) The Light SAR science planning project.
b) Space shuttle manifests of secondary payloads. Even though the Cassini project was successful, it had its share of problems and shortfalls just like any other venture. It lacked connection between the development and the operational phase of the mission. Due to the limited allocation of resources with no reserves, if any instrument developed a problem while the rest of the system’s instruments were already built, there were no attractions or incentives for other investigators to assist the constrained investigation.
This was because LOA had put guidelines that remaining resources would be ploughed back into the investigation after the delivery by the flight model, which more often than not was too late to be of any use to the failed investigation. This has however been addressed and there has been a recommendation that in any future missions using the same system, a mechanism has to be put in place that combines the development and operational phases of the mission.
Despite a few problems, the Cassini project was immensely successful and had a great influence and change on the resource used by science instrument teams (Ruskin, 46). The trends in trade changed dramatically as many of them were able to save on instruments.
There was also caution on the management of mass unlike in previous phases where people had reserves and yet didn’t have any left-over’s. Two factors that brought about this were that the investigators were more cautious in managing their mass allocation and also the official also did a good job in managing the spacecraft’s mass(Satterthwaite and Sonnenschein, 184).This new method also encouraged sharing of resources between different investigators. This resulted in saving time and resources. Risks Involved
One of the greatest risks involved was going into the mission without the usual resource reserves like many earlier investigations. They did so because there is no one time a spacecraft was launched and came back without using all its reserves, meaning that all of them developed problems while on tour and required extra resources hence using all the reserves (Tullock et al, 123).
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In our context, there is allocation of minimum resources and one can only be careful as to manage them properly and ensure that there are no problems. Mitigation
One of the most notable methods of mitigation in Cassini’s market based approach was that the duration of investigation was recommended to the minimum time required rather than the maximum time that the investigators deemed enough to accomplish a given investigation. This reduced the risks of developing problems while in the investigation by taking longer durations.
Arrow, K.Uncertainty and The Welfare Economics of Medical Care.USA: American Economic Review, 1963.Print.
Randii, W. and Porter, D. Management Approach for Allocating Instrument Development Resources. USA: Space Policy, August, 1998.Print.
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Satterthwaite, M. and Sonnenschein H.Strategy-Proof Allocation Mechanism Differential Points.USA: Review of Economic Studies, 1981.Print.
Tullock et al.Efficient Rent Seeking In. Toward a Theory of the Rent-Seeking Society. College Station, Texas, USA: A&M Univ. Press, 1980.Print.