Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

John M. Colombi, PhD.


Solar radiation storms represent a dire threat to manned interplanetary space travel. Earth's current solar forecasting architecture is Earth-focused and insufficient to provide timely warnings to a manned mission to Mars, therefore a "best value" solar warning architecture must be identified. A total of 14 solar warning architectures were developed by varying 5 solar sensor locations, 2 processing locations, and 2 communications strategies. Using Satellite Tool Kit, performance of the candidate architectures in terms of Warning Time and Solar Coverage was quantified during a Mars mission scenario based on NASA's Design Reference Architecture 5.0. Cost of each candidate architecture was estimated by parametrically determining the total dry mass of each. Efficient frontiers graphs for Warning Time and Solar Coverage versus Dry Mass were developed which depicted the relative cost-benefit of each candidate. A value model was also applied to develop an overall performance value efficient frontier. The analysis indicates a solar sensor and processing capability onboard the manned spacecraft itself is the "best value" solution providing the most performance in return for cost.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number



Co-authored thesis.