Integrating dependencies into the technology portfolio: a feed-forward case study for near-earth asteroids

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Taylor, Christianna Elizabeth
Mavris, Dimitri N.
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Technology Portfolios are essential to the evolution of large complex systems. In an effort to harness the power of new technologies, technology portfolios are used to predict the value of integrating them into the project. This optimization of the technology portfolio creates large complex design spaces; however, many processes operate on the assumption that their technology elements have no dependency on each other, because dependencies are not well defined. This independence assumption simplifies the process, but suggests that these environments are missing out on decision power and fidelity. Therefore, this thesis proposed a way to explain the variations in Portfolio recommendations as a function of adding dependencies. Dependencies were defined in accordance with their development effort figures of merit and possible relationships. The thesis then went on to design a method to integrate two dependency classes into the technology portfolio framework to showcase the effect of incorporating dependencies. Results indicated that Constraint Dependencies reduced the portfolio or stayed the same, while Value Dependencies changed the portfolio optimization completely; making the user compare two different optimization results. Both indicated that they provided higher fidelity with the inclusion of the information added. Furthermore, the upcoming NASA Near-Earth Asteroid Campaign was studied as a case study. This campaign is the plan to send humans to an asteroid by 2025 announced by President Obama in April 2010. The campaign involves multiple missions, capabilities, and technologies that must be demonstrated to enable deep-space human exploration. Therefore, this thesis capitalized on that intention to show how adopting technology in earlier missions can act as a feed-forward method to demonstrate technology for future missions. The thesis showed the baseline technology portfolio, integrated dependencies into the process, compared its findings to the baseline case, and ultimately showed how adding higher fidelity into the process changes the user's decisions. Findings concerning the Near-Earth Asteroid Campaign, the use of dependencies to add fidelity and implications for future work are discussed.
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