Shari Keller

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering (MSE)


Industrial and Systems Engineering and Engineering Management

Committee Chair

Philip Farrington

Committee Member

Paul Collopy

Committee Member

James J. Swain


Launch complexes (Astronautics), Rockets (Aeronautics) ----United States--Launching., Systems engineering., Decision-making.


Spacecraft and launch systems are complex products requiring a careful balance between competing concerns, such as performance, weight, and reliability, to serve their mission. This thesis proposes that an economic analysis of all parties to spacecraft launch and operation can be used to construct a top-level value model on the launch system attribute space. A Lunar Helium-3 (He3) mining business venture provides the mission case study. Input variables were grouped into broad categories of developing a space launch system: costs, performance, schedule, and reliability. Baseline data were aggregated by impact on the mission's costs and benefit elements of the business model; the model's output is a monetary system value. Optimization techniques derived an objective function, showing relationships between attributes of a space launch system and overall system value. Illustrative results are presented to demonstrate how the Net Present Value based value model can be used in system trade studies.



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