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Calculation of Operations Efficiency Factors for Mars Surface MissionsThe duration of a mission--and subsequently, the minimum spacecraft lifetime--is a key component in designing the capabilities of a spacecraft during mission formulation. However, determining the duration is not simply a function of how long it will take the spacecraft to execute the activities needed to achieve mission objectives. Instead, the effects of the interaction between the spacecraft and ground operators must also be taken into account. This paper describes a method, using "operations efficiency factors", to account for these effects for Mars surface missions. Typically, this level of analysis has not been performed until much later in the mission development cycle, and has not been able to influence mission or spacecraft design. Further, the notion of moving to sustainable operations during Prime Mission--and the effect that change would have on operations productivity and mission objective choices--has not been encountered until the most recent rover missions (MSL, the (now-cancelled) joint NASA-ESA 2018 Mars rover, and the proposed rover for Mars 2020). Since MSL had a single control center and sun-synchronous relay assets (like MER), estimates of productivity derived from MER prime and extended missions were used. However, Mars 2018's anticipated complexity (there would have been control centers in California and Italy, and a non-sun-synchronous relay asset) required the development of an explicit model of operations efficiency that could handle these complexities. In the case of the proposed Mars 2018 mission, the model was employed to assess the mission return of competing operations concepts, and as an input to component lifetime requirements. In this paper we provide examples of how to calculate the operations efficiency factor for a given operational configuration, and how to apply the factors to surface mission scenarios. This model can be applied to future missions to enable early effective trades between operations design, science mission planning, and spacecraft design.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
External Source(s)
Laubach, Sharon (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
July 1, 2016
Publication Date
May 5, 2014
Subject Category
Administration and Management
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Meeting Information
SpaceOps 2014, International Conference on Space Operation(Pasadena, CA)
Distribution Limits

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IDRelationTitle20140002365See AlsoCalculation of Operations Efficiency Factors for Mars Surface Missions