Session

Session II: Liquid to Gas

SSC09-I-6.pdf (429 kB)
Presentation Slides

Abstract

Quality and performance are very often the design drivers of engineers working on Space Projects. Reliability and availability of space systems are requirements on a single unit. In case the unit fails or underperforms, the mission is not accomplished or seriously compromised. The Quality Assurance has the task of making sure that the satellite complies with the specifications and operates flawless for the entire life. In mass production, the role of Quality Assurance is to minimize, not to eliminate, the number of defects. A certain number of defective units are acceptable. They are repaired or replaced during the guarantee period.How far are satellites from the point where the production cost is so low that replacing a defective unit is cheaper than ensuring it is defective free? Once the satellite market has reached that point, we can say that quantity matters more than quality. In recent years, space projects have seen the deployment of recurrent units for constellations, as GPS, Iridium, Globalstar, and others. Still the number of recurrent units is too small to make a difference.We still need to reach the point where satellites can be built and launched for a fraction of the present cost. Do technologies and methodologies of small satellites play a role to reach the turning point where quantity makes the difference? Is there any market requiring enough recurrent units to push down the development cost per unit to a negligible level?The paper analyzes the technology maturity of small satellites and shows how far small satellites are from the point where the quantity matters more than quality. The work analyses market dynamics and how non-space technologies may play a new role in deploying new space assets. The paper shows the pace at which space technologies are approaching the turning point where quantity matters more than quality.

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Aug 10th, 3:45 PM

When Quantity Matters…

Quality and performance are very often the design drivers of engineers working on Space Projects. Reliability and availability of space systems are requirements on a single unit. In case the unit fails or underperforms, the mission is not accomplished or seriously compromised. The Quality Assurance has the task of making sure that the satellite complies with the specifications and operates flawless for the entire life. In mass production, the role of Quality Assurance is to minimize, not to eliminate, the number of defects. A certain number of defective units are acceptable. They are repaired or replaced during the guarantee period.How far are satellites from the point where the production cost is so low that replacing a defective unit is cheaper than ensuring it is defective free? Once the satellite market has reached that point, we can say that quantity matters more than quality. In recent years, space projects have seen the deployment of recurrent units for constellations, as GPS, Iridium, Globalstar, and others. Still the number of recurrent units is too small to make a difference.We still need to reach the point where satellites can be built and launched for a fraction of the present cost. Do technologies and methodologies of small satellites play a role to reach the turning point where quantity makes the difference? Is there any market requiring enough recurrent units to push down the development cost per unit to a negligible level?The paper analyzes the technology maturity of small satellites and shows how far small satellites are from the point where the quantity matters more than quality. The work analyses market dynamics and how non-space technologies may play a new role in deploying new space assets. The paper shows the pace at which space technologies are approaching the turning point where quantity matters more than quality.