Design for X (DFX) is a computer program that assists, at the prelimary stage of planning, in the evaluaiton of alternative spacecraft designs and mission scenarios. The input required by DFX includes a set of operations goals (scientific and engineering goals and constraints), a mathematical model of the spacecraft, and a set of scoring functions for quantiying the engineering utility and/or scientific value of various operations. DFX uses the operations-goals and model information, along with artificial-intelligence-based planning and scheduling techniques, to generate a high-level activiy plan that is then scored by the provided functions. The benefits of using DFX to automate the evaluation of spacecraft designs include (1) improved scientific spacecraft design, leading to improved science return; (2) greater accuracy analysis of margins and interactions, leading to improved operability of the spacecraft; and (3) decreased project risk (e.g., budget and schedule risk) from rapid protyping and analysis of designs.

This program was written by Tara Estlin, Darren Mutz, Steve Chien, Anthony Barrett, and Gregg Rabideau of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free on-line at  under the Software category.

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Don Hart of the California Institute of Technology at (818) 393-3425. Refer to NPO-20492.

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Program for Evaluating Spacecraft Designs and Missions

(reference NPO-20492) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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This article first appeared in the May, 2001 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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