2016 SE Doctoral Dissertation Showcase – Exemplary Recognition
An established approach to cost and risk reduction in system development programs is the use of heritage technologies. A heritage technology is defined as a proven technology, reused in a new use context, in an unaltered or adapted form. Heritage technologies are particularly relevant for space systems development programs, as their development costs are usually high and stakeholders risk-averse. Nevertheless, numerous space programs encountered problems linked to improper ‘management’ of heritage technologies when reused, i.e., improper use, implementation or adaptation.
Improperly managed heritage technologies can lead to cost and schedule overruns, or even failure in the reuse application. Currently, the applicability of heritage technologies is mostly assessed ad-hoc. The existing assessment approaches are deemed to be insufficient for providing decision-makers and analysts with ample guidance on the applicability of heritage technologies.
This thesis presents a methodology for assessing heritage technologies in the early phases of development, taking the new use context of the technology, its necessary adaptations and modifications, as well as technological capabilities of the implementing organization into consideration. For illuminating the relationship between the use of heritage technologies and the performance of space programs empirically, a statistical analysis is performed.
The methodology focuses on the early phases, where most of the technology selection takes place. A 3-component framework is developed that serves as the theoretical basis for the statistical analysis and the methodology. The framework consists of a systems architecting framework, a technology framework, and a verification, validation, testing, and operation framework.
Based on the concepts developed in the framework, a statistical analysis is performed. Using multiple regression with control variables, a statistically significant relationship between heritage technology and specific development cost / development duration was confirmed. No statistically significant relationship between heritage use and development cost overrun / schedule overrun could be confirmed.
Based on the framework and results from the statistical analysis, a methodology for assessing heritage technologies in the early phases is developed. It allows for identifying potential compliance issues of the heritage technology with respect to changed requirements and constraints. Estimating the impact of modifications is performed via design structure matrices and a graph-edit-similarity algorithm. Furthermore, a heritage metric is presented that can be used for measuring heritage with respect to a new application. Finally, the methodology also allows for assessing technological and organizational capabilities.
The methodology is validated by three space system case studies: 1) a CubeSat component technology, 2) a high-pressure tank technology for the Ariane 5 launcher, and 3) the Saturn V and Space Launch System technology.
From the presented work it can be concluded that the methodology can be systematically applied to various types of space systems at different levels of decomposition. The heritage metric provides a rough estimate of the heritage of a technology for a new application and context. The statistical analysis confirmed that in general using heritage technologies significantly reduces specific development cost and development duration. As future work, the developed methodology could be extended to other domains such as automotive engineering, aeronautics, and medical engineering, where heritage also plays an important role.
Andreas Hein received his Master’s and PhD degree in aerospace engineering from the Technical University of Munich (TUM). In his PhD research, supervised by Ulrich Walter (TUM) and Edward Crawley (MIT), he investigated the effect of heritage technologies on cost, development duration, and risk of space programs. He conducted part of his research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, supported by a scholarship of the German Academic Exchange Service DAAD. Subsequently, he participated in the Stanford Ignite – Polytechnique program where he worked on creating a business model for automatizing the development of buildings. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at CentraleSupelec in Paris, working on systems engineering methodologies for developing large industrial systems (eco-industrial parks) and product service systems (autonomous vehicles). He is furthermore a co-founder of the UK not-for-profit company “Initiative for Interstellar Studies” which conducts research and development of advanced space systems, notably in collaboration with the Breakthrough Initiatives’ Starshot Program. Andreas has published over 40 articles in peer-reviewed international journals and conferences and is a reviewer of Acta Astronautica, the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, Aerospace Science and Technology, Design Science Journal, and the Journal of Cleaner Production. He is a member of INCOSE and a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society.
Andreas Hein, Research Associate, Laboratoire Génie Industriel, CentraleSupelec, Université Paris-Saclay
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