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Planetary Science Decadal Survey Mission Studies Lessons Learned Report
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Planetary Science Decadal Survey  Mission Studies Lessons Learned Report

Report: 19 pages
PowerPoint: 15 slides
Best printed on 8 1/2 x 11 paper.

Most recent update: 14 Nov 2012

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From the introduction: The Planetary Science Decadal Survey (PSDS) was conducted by the Space Studies Board (SSB) of the National Research Council, (NRC) in 2009-2010 to "...develop a comprehensive science and mission strategy for planetary science that updates and extends the Board's 2003 solar system exploration decadal survey, New Frontiers in the Solar System: An Integrated Exploration Strategy." Ref 1

A major element in the development of this strategy was the conduct of a broad set of mission and technology studies that were used to assess the feasibility, implementation cost, and science return from missions designed to address high priority science at destinations throughout the solar system. Mission destinations included inner planets (Mercury, Venus, Moon), Mars, primitive bodies (asteroids, comets, etc.), outer planets (giant planets and ice giants) and outer planet satellites. Based on science priorities and programmatic guidelines, the NRC science panels identified promising mission concepts they recommended for study. In some cases, architecture-level trade studies were conducted to rapidly explore alternative mission concepts for a given set of science objectives as a way to select the most promising mission concept, from a science, cost and risk perspective, that the science panel recommended for higher maturity point design study [Ref 2]. In other cases, the panels elected to quickly identify point design mission concepts based on historical study results without doing an architecture level assessment of alternatives. With the support of NASA HQ, the NRC assigned each study and one of its NRC science panel members to a NASA study center (APL, GSFC, JPL, GRC and MSFC). Some results from mission studies prior to the PSDS went directly to the Independent Cost Estimators and the Steering Committee. After a team completed a point design study, the results were reviewed by the relevant NASA HQ point of contact (POC), subjected to independent cost evaluations, and then passed on to the PSDS Steering Committee. In total, 31 studies at varying levels of concept maturity were conducted. Table 1 is a complete list of the mission studies.

Performing architecture-level trade studies and mission concept point design studies was a major effort, presenting a number of challenges to the study centers, NASA HQ and the NRC PSDS team. As a result of this work, many lessons were learned along the way that can benefit future efforts that require similar design team study support. The PSDS Lessons Learned task was undertaken to identify those lessons learned and make them available for future similar efforts. The approach taken was to send questionnaires to the full range of study participants, including the PSDS science champions and panels, study center leads and team participants (JPL, GSFC, APL, GRC and MSFC), and NASA HQ POCs. The set of responses reflects a complete cross-section of study participants and provides excellent insight into the PSDS mission study process. This report documents the lessons learned.

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Last Updated: 14 Nov 2012