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Update on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Parametric Mission Cost Model (PMCM)

Models Track

Downloadable Files:

MOD-2 Monson Paper Parametric Mission


In today’s dynamic, fast-paced world of unmanned space exploration, priorities can, and often do, change rather quickly. A single breakthrough discovery can quickly shift community focus to an entirely different direction. Scientists and engineers involved in the early conceptualization of unmanned missions must have the tools and procedures at their disposal to keep up with such changing priorities, while conforming to strict cost and schedule limitations. Parametric cost estimation is an increasingly important tool for use in the fast-turnaround world of mission studies. The JPL Parametric Mission Cost Model (PMCM) is used for the purpose of early concept estimation and validation of grassroots estimates for unmanned space missions at JPL. It is comprised of dozens of Cost Estimation Relationships (CERs) that estimate the total end-to-end cost of a JPL mission based on easy-to-obtain mission parameters available during planning conceptualization.

PMCM has been reported on previously at ISPA and SCEA. This paper will detail the currently ongoing challenges of maintaining and updating the model to accommodate JPL’s ever-changing collaborative environment. A detailed analysis of model performance against actual missions will be presented, along with lessons learned in the validation exercise. In addition, we will discuss a new implementation of the model that involves distributed web-based input targeted at design team members for the purpose of more accurate, quick-turnaround estimates and the archiving of estimation use cases


Eric Monson
Erik Monson is a Staff Engineer in the Integrated Ground Data System Section at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he is involved in the development of tools and procedures to better enable quantitative software management in the institution. Prior to joining JPL in 2001, he served as the lead software architect for a Silicon Valley network management and security software company in designing appropriate-use network monitoring systems. Erik holds a MBA and BS in Computer Information Science.

Leigh Rosenberg
Leigh Rosenberg has been the Group Supervisor of JPL’s Cost Engineering Group in the Mission Systems Concepts Section. He was also a charter member of JPL’s Advanced Projects Design Team (Team X). He has worked at JPL in cost estimation and systems engineering for the last 29 years. He has developed JPL’s engineering cost estimation methodology and has coordinated the cost estimation of various competitive proposals which became funded projects including the Stardust, Genesis, and Deep Impact. He created the Parametric Mission Cost Model which is used to generate parametric WBS mission costs for JPL space missions.
Mr. Rosenberg has previously worked for the Federal Government at the Interstate Commerce Commission, and for the MITRE Corporation. He has an MS in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering from the University of Massachusetts and a BA in Mathematics from Queens College of the City University of New York.