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Life Cycle Analysis of Dedicated Nano-Launch TechnologiesRecent technology advancements have enabled the development of small cheap satellites that can perform useful functions in the space environment. Currently, the only low cost option for getting these payloads into orbit is through ride share programs. As a result, these launch opportunities await primary payload launches and a backlog exists. An alternative option would be dedicated nano-launch systems built and operated to provide more flexible launch services, higher availability, and affordable prices. The potential customer base that would drive requirements or support a business case includes commercial, academia, civil government and defense. Further, NASA technology investments could enable these alternative game changing options.With this context, in 2013 the Game Changing Development (GCD) program funded a NASA team to investigate the feasibility of dedicated nano-satellite launch systems with a recurring cost of less than $2 million per launch for a 5 kg payload to low Earth orbit. The team products would include potential concepts, technologies and factors for enabling the ambitious cost goal, exploring the nature of the goal itself, and informing the GCD program technology investment decision making process. This paper provides an overview of the life cycle analysis effort that was conducted in 2013 by an inter-center NASA team. This effort included the development of reference nano-launch system concepts, developing analysis processes and models, establishing a basis for cost estimates (development, manufacturing and launch) suitable to the scale of the systems, and especially, understanding the relationship of potential game changing technologies to life cycle costs, as well as other factors, such as flights per year.
Document ID
Document Type
Zapata, Edgar
(NASA Kennedy Space Center Cocoa Beach, FL United States)
McCleskey, Carey
(NASA Kennedy Space Center Cocoa Beach, FL United States)
Martin, John
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Lepsch, Roger
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Hernani, Tosoc
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 6, 2014
Publication Date
June 23, 2014
Subject Category
Launch Vehicles And Launch Operations
Electronics And Electrical Engineering
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
2014 Commercial and Government Responsive Access to Space Technology Exchange (CRASTE)(Huntsville, AL)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 662122.04.06.01
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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