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Review of Three Small-Satellite Cost Models

Estimating Track

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The problem of estimating costs for small satellites is more vexing that it would seem. Small satellites, as described here, generally weigh less than 1,000 pounds, and are sometimes much smaller and significantly different from much of what exists now. Costing these kinds of satellites is not simply a matter of scaling down from larger systems. It requires incorporation of new data sets and consideration of new modeling methods. The challenge of addressing small‐satellite development is important, considering the emerging priority for developing much smaller, modular or interactive space systems.
This paper introduces three related efforts to advance the state of small‐satellite cost estimating. First is the Small Satellite Cost Working Group championed by the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center to bring together the various entities and organizations that have a stake in this challenge.
Second is the Small Satellite Cost Model in development by The Aerospace Corporation. Third is the Demo Sat Cost Model, the National Reconnaissance Office’s (NRO) parametric tool for one‐of‐a‐kind, short‐design‐life satellites. This paper summarizes efforts and discusses remaining issues, focusing on the goal of improving the capabilities for small‐satellite costing, which has become a compelling and common interest. These efforts respond, in part, to two factors. One is intense congressional pressure to have missions accomplished by smaller, lighter, and less expensive satellites. The second comprises new ways of doing business, now possible and being advanced by the space industry at large.


Melvin A. Broder
The Aerospace Corporation
Melvin A. Broder is a Senior Project Leader at The Aerospace Corporation working in the Systems Planning and Engineering Group. In this capacity he supports the Air Force’s Developmental Planning Directorate at SMC and has developed cost models for the Aerospace Concept Design Center. Prior to working in the aerospace industry he was an Instructor of Economics at La Verne College. He earned a B.S. in Economics from CCNY and a M.S. in Economics, specializing in econometrics from USC

Eric Mahr
The Aerospace Corporation
Eric Mahr is an Engineering Specialist in the Space Architecture Department at The Aerospace Corporation. His expertise is in spacecraft and architecture development. He has worked on a number of architecture and mission developments, studies and evaluations for NASA, the Air Force, and commercial organizations. He is also the Principal Investigator for the Small Satellite Cost Model (SSCM). He has a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Arizona and a M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Colorado.

Daniel E. F. Barkmeyer
Daniel Barkmeyer is a cost analyst supporting the National Reconnaissance Office Cost Analysis Improvement Group. He has supported the NRO CAIG primarily in the areas of space hardware cost estimating and cost model development since 2006. He is an employee of Burgess Consulting, Inc. and has previously worked for Wyle Laboratories. Mr. Barkmeyer earned his B.S. and M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland in 2001 and 2005, respectively.

Erik L. Burgess
Erik Burgess has provided cost estimating and program support to the National Reconnaissance Office since 1995. He is the president of Burgess Consulting Inc., and has also served with The Aerospace Corporation, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and MCR, LLC. Mr. Burgess earned his M.S. and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Wilmer Alvarado
Wilmer Alvarado is a Government Civilian for the National Reconnaissance Office since 2005. Prior to the NRO, Mr. Alvarado served 10 years as an Acquisition Manager for the Missile Defense Agency and as a Cost Analyst for the Department of the Navy. Mr. Alvarado earned his M.S. in Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech and his B.S. in Materials Science Engineering from Purdue University in Indiana.

Samuel B. Toas
Samuel B. Toas is a Technical and Research Lead for TASC and is currently providing cost support to The Air Force Cost Analysis Agency (AFCAA) Space Division and Naval Engineering Logistics Office (NELO). Mr. Toas has several years of experience working for Intelligence Community and Department of Defense customers, performing cost estimating, risk analysis, and model development on various Space and AIS programs. Mr. Toas has an engineering background and was previously employed as a Research Manager for an industrial turbine manufacturer. Mr. Toas previously taught and presented at the 2008 and 2009 SCEA National Conferences. He is also a participating member of the Joint Space Cost Council Risk Team. Sam graduated from Georgia Tech in 1999 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.

Gregory Hogan
Mr. Hogan graduated from Penn State University in 1990, receiving a BS degree in Industrial Engineering. After college he became a charter member of the Engineering and Scientist Development Program at the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR). Throughout his career at NAVAIR he collected numerous awards & commendations during assignments throughout cost analysis, contracts, and engineering groups. In the evenings, he returned to school, earning an MS degree in Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech. He is a recognized instructor of cost estimating & analysis, with audiences in the Department of Defense (DoD), Intelligence Community (IC), UK Ministry of Defense, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
(NASA), Census Bureau, and Industry.
He contributed to many research papers (Class A / Class C Spacecraft, Commercial Space Practices, New Challenges to Cost Estimating) presented at national conferences. Back in 1997, he published a master’s thesis (Evaluation of Military Base Closure Alternatives) that re-defined the cost-benefit process used to evaluate Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) scenarios. The Commander of NAVAIR awarded him the prestigious Meritorious Civilian Service award for contributions and dedication to the BRAC cause. He is an author of benchmark cost processes used by NAVAIR that are the foundation for much of the Society of Cost Estimation and Analysis (SCEA) courseware.
After his tenure at NAVAIR, Mr. Hogan joined Tecolote Research and became an industry leader in data collection, methods development and acquisition support to the IC. He was a principal player in the evaluation and subsequent litigation support to the largest acquisition in the history of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).
While working for Northrop Grumman TASC, Mr. Hogan was promoted to Technical Director of Research & Estimating. For five years, he led the life cycle estimate activities of high visibility programs for Defense and Intelligence Community customers. As a subject matter expert, he participated in summit meetings with the General Accountability Office (GAO) and he is cited for contributions to the GAO Cost Assessment Guide.
In the fall of 2008, Mr. Hogan joined the Economic and Business Analysis team at Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH). In this capacity, he leverages his extensive resume’ and reach back to other experts in various disciplines to support clients within the Defense, Intelligence Community, and Civil Markets. As a recognized leader in the cost / risk estimating domain, he is an active member of the Joint Space Cost Council (JSCC) and is called about to lead many special interest projects. Through his involvement with Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE), he has partnered Booz Allen Hamilton’s Applied Economic Analysis group with the engineering community.