Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Systems Engineering


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

John M. Colombi, PhD.


The validation between a research and developmental satellite and its ground system is critical to ensuring the success on-orbit. However, the exact process for completing validation is not documented, frequently underfunded, and accomplished ad hoc. This leads to debate regarding maintenance of budget and schedule, while ensuring on-orbit success. This thesis examines readiness and on-orbit activities within the U.S. Air Force Space Development and Test Wing's Research Development Test and Evaluation Support Complex. Combining historical data with the consultation of subject matter experts, a validation process was defined. Risks associated with this process were then analyzed using the Strategy Based Risk Model, and were evaluated based on the probability of occurrence and severity of impact. The validation process and associated costs were validated using the Delphi Method. Next, we transformed the results into a simulation that generates distributions of possible costs and risk outcomes. Finally we applied the simulation to a program, and distributed it to program managers for feedback. The simulation will be distributed to program offices to support tailoring a validation plan relative to their budget. The simulation will give decision makers greater fidelity into the expected risks and costs associated with the selected validation process.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number



Co-authored thesis.