Determining the cost effectiveness of nano-satellites
Mroczek, Austin J.
Rhoades, Mark M.
Angelis, Diana I.
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Nano-satellites have grown in popularity and capability since the 1990s. Over ninety were launched into low earth orbit between November 2013 and January 2014. Various Department of Defense services and agencies, including the Department of the Navy, have funded a number of demonstration missions that are being evaluated for military utility. While nano-satellites cost significantly less than traditional space missions, they also provide less capability. A quantitative method is required to determine the cost-effectiveness of nano-satellite missions to inform naval decision-makers. This thesis develops a framework to compare the cost-effectiveness of nano-satellites. After examining different methods of quantifying small-satellite performance and cost, a generic cost-effectiveness model is developed. The model is demonstrated using two hypothetical scenarios where both nano-satellite and traditional satellite options are considered.
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