The overall objective of this project is to develop an integrated capability for guiding the development of the interplanetary supply chain that will be required to enable sustainable space exploration of the Earth-Moon-Mars system and beyond.
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Detailed Research Objectives
The goals of this project are as follows:
- Find analogies of terrestrial supply-chains for both high-risk, capital intensive projects, as well as those servicing remote environments. Define and apply criteria as to the applicability of terrestrial SCM models and methods to space logistics.
- Build a flexible network-based modeling environment for capturing nodes and arcs of both the ground and space based segments of the future interplanetary supply chain. This network model must capture both energy requirements and time dependencies in the network.
- Develop probabilistic supply/demand models by class of supply to predict likely manifests for space exploration with emphasis on small quantity logistics under uncertainty and robust sparing strategies.
- Wrap these models into a user friendly and effective simulation and planning tool for NASA and the contractor community. This tool can be used to evaluate competing mission architectures in terms of their supply chain impact and sustainability and will be integrated with the agency’s planned simulation-based acquisition strategy.
- Carry out trade studies to highlight the implications of major architectural options of the interplanetary supply chain in terms of intermediate buffers, redundant transportation modes and push-pull boundaries. This objective includes modeling a variety of historical and planned future missions and campaign scenarios, including some with refueling and other non-traditional operations.
- Actively engage the space logistics community at NASA, the contractors and academia in the challenge of creating a sustainable supply chain for interplanetary exploration via a series of workshops, short courses as well as model development and validation efforts.
- Impact the education of future explorers and engineers by involving students at MIT and affiliated institutions in the interplanetary supply chain problem by developing additional modules and assignments for existing supply chain and logistics courses. Make these educational materials easily accessible to the public.