Examination of the Benefits of Standardized Interfaces on Space Systems
Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States
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Space systems today are highly customized systems for which standardized interfaces rarely exist. A majority of the cost can be attributed to nonrecurring engineering costs, since these systems are redesigned each time a space system is procured. As new space systems are developed, the usage of standardized interface can prove to be highly advantageous. The objective of the thesis is to identify key interfaces that can be standardized, and to determine whether the implementation of standardized interfaces on space systems can provide any added benefits such as cost savings, schedule reductions, and a rapid replenishment capability if a system was lost. A satellite functional analysis was performed using IDEF0 models, which indicated that multiple interfaces within each subsystem can be standardized. The biggest return on investment in terms of interface standardization would come from the Command and Data Handling and Electrical Power subsystem, since each component onboard will require, at a minimum, a single data and power interface. As a result of utilizing a standard interface, cost savings can be realized through efficiencies in design and manufacturing, and allow for a rapid replenishment capability for any systems that are lost due to any type of failure. The research concludes with recommendations for standardization by subsystem and function, based on the IDEF0 analysis.