Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Stuart C. Kramer, PhD


Current satellite design philosophies concentrate on optimizing and tailoring a particular satellite bus to a specific payload or mission. Today's satellites take a long time to build, checkout, and launch. An alternate approach shifts the design paradigm to one that focuses on access to space, enabling tactical deployment on demand and the capability to put current payload technology into orbit, versus several years by today's standards, by which time the technology is already obsolete. This design study applied systems engineering methods to create a satellite bus architecture that can accommodate a range of remote sensing mission modules. System-level and subsystem-level tradeoffs provided standard components and satellite structures, and an iterative design approach provided candidate designs constructed with those components. A cost and reliability trade study provided initial estimates for satellite performance. Modeling and analysis based upon the Sponsor's objectives converged the designs to an optimum solution. Major products of this study include not only a preliminary satellite design to meet the sponsor's needs, but also a software modeling and analysis tool for satellite design, integration, and test. Finally, the report provides an initial implementation scheme and concept for operations for the tactical support of this satellite system.

AFIT Designator

AFIT-GSE-GSO-ENY-96D-1 (Volumes 1, 2, 3)

DTIC Accession Number

Vol 1: ADA321011; Vol 2. ADA321012; Vol. 3. ADA321013


Co-authored thesis in three volumes. Volume 2 and 3 are available below.

ADA321012.pdf (18851 kB)
Volume 2

ADA321013.pdf (3211 kB)
Volume 3