Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Milton Franke, PhD


This thesis identifies useful tools and techniques available to aid the Air Force development of a reusable launch vehicle (RLV). These tools are identified by comparing traits found within the Lean Aerospace Initiative, Six Sigma and systems engineering. While identified specifically for the RLV effort, these tools and techniques will be of use to many development programs. Historical perspectives of both RLV development efforts within the Air Force and origins of modern quality teachings are provided to establish a common foundation of knowledge, upon which, further analysis can be conducted. This thesis, also, summarizes the current RLV effort within the Air Force and NASA. With the tool-set identified and the RLV effort enumerated, the tool-set and RLV effort are matched to determine the current level of integration. More importantly, the tools-set serves as the basis to form specific recommendations to aid the Air Force RLV effort.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number