Benefits of a space-based group system architecture
Colvin, Brandon J.
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The volatility in today’s economics has resulted in government attempts to reduce cost while maintaining performance. One of the elements examined by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency was the idea of fractionating a current monolithic satellite system into several smaller, space-based group (SBG) satellites. This architecture would allow for multiple, smaller, and less expensive satellites to work together to accomplish the several missions. This study focused on research and analysis of the system FireSat. The analysis removed the ground communications suite from the sensor platform. A Microsoft Excel spreadsheet was used to develop the resulting cost relation for the sensor-only satellite. Using assumptions provided by that analysis, three additional systems, currently in operation, were examined for cost savings if placed into the SBG. The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite was used as a basis for cost of a communications satellite. The cost analysis resulted in an estimated $52 million FY15 to the space segments alone. Additional research is required to determine cost savings within the full architecture and develop a risk-cost analysis to determine whether cost could be further reduced due to higher reliability, lower replacement cost risk, and longer lifetimes.
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