For a system whose operational life is expected to be

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Unformatted text preview: lar figure on these resource uses, they are generally called incommensurable costs. The general treatment of these types of costs in trade studies is not to ignore them, but instead to keep track of them along with dollar costs. 5.2.2 Controlling Life-Cycle Costs The project manager/system engineer must ensure that the system life-cycle cost (established at the end of Phase A) is initially compatible with NASA's budget and strategic priorities and that it demonstratively remains so over the project life cycle. According to NHB 7120.5, every NASA program/project must: • • • • Develop and maintain an effective capability to estimate, assess, monitor, and control its life-cycle cost throughout the project life cycle Relate life-cycle cost estimates to a well-defined technical baseline, detailed project schedule, and set of cost-estimating assumptions Identify the life-cycle costs of alternative levels of system requirements and capability Report time-phased acquisition cost and technical parameters to NASA Headquarters. There are a number of actions the system engineer can take to effect these objectives. Early decisions in the systems engineering process tend to have the greatest effect on the resultant system life-cycle cost. Typically, by the time the preferred system architecture is selected, between 50 and 70 percent of the system's life-cycle cost has been "locked in." By the time a preliminary system design is selected, this figure may be as high as 90 percent. This presents a major dilemma to the system engineer, who must lead this selection process. Just at the time when decisions are most critical, the state of information about the alternatives is least certain. Uncertainty about costs is a fact of systems engineering. This suggests that efforts to acquire better information about the life-cycle cost of each alternative early in the project life-cycle (Phases A and B) potentially have very high payoffs. The system engineer needs to understand what the principal life-cycle cost d...
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