Spaceborne Construction and Operations Planning: Decision Rules for Selecting EVA, Telerobot, and Combined Work-Systems

by Jeffrey H. Smith, California Inst of Technology, Pasadena, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space III


The development and implementation of Lunar and Mars Missions will require integration of numerous architectures for both on-orbit and planetary surface engineering and construction. These architectures will involve extensive surface and on-orbit extravehicular work activities for construction and operations. A key element of this integration process will be the selection of appropriate work-systems to perform required tasks. The constructors of engineering systems for on-orbit and surface operations have a number of work-system options for performing these tasks: (1) Extravehicular activity (EVA) performed by astronauts, (2) Extravehicular robotics (EVR), and (3) Cooperative EVA combined with EVR (using crew and robots synergistically to perform tasks). The question remains, however, 'Under what conditions is it cost-effective to use the EVA and/or EVR resource?' The answer to this question has implications for the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) where the issue of work-system allocation is magnified by long distances, high transport costs, and the scope of construction and mission operations. A technique of interest to engineering designers and operational planners for determining in an economic context whether to use EVA alone, EVR alone, or Cooperative EVA is described. It is also shown that given the estimated task times for these alternatives, and the marginal costs of EVA, EVR, and IVA, the appropriate work-system for performing the task can be identified. The paper illustrates how the work-system choice is based on the ratio of costs and a nomograph based on these ratios and developed for general application is used to illustrate the trade-offs among alternative work-systems.

Subject Headings: Construction management | Architecture | Team building | Construction costs | Systems engineering | System analysis | Space construction | Astronomy

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