An issue in engineering design is a system's design lifetime. Economists study durability choice problems for consumer goods but seldom address lifetime problem(s) of complex engineering systems. The issues for engineering systems are complex and multidisciplinary and require an understanding of the 'technicalities of durability' and the economic implications of the marginal cost of durability and value maximization. Commonly the design lifetime for an infrastructure is set between 30 and 70 years. Satellite lifetimes are also assigned arbitrarily or with limited analysis. This book provides a systemic qualitative and quantitative approach to these problems addressing, first, the technicality of durability, second, the marginal cost of durability, and third, the durability choice problem for complex engineering systems with network externalities (competition and market uncertainty) and obsolescence effects (technology evolution). Since the analyses are system-specific, a satellite example is used to illustrate the essence and provide a quantitative application of said analyses.
Dr Joseph H. Saleh is an Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He received his PhD from the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT and served as the Executive Director of the Ford-MIT Alliance. His research focuses on issues of design lifetime, and how to embed flexibility in the design of complex engineering systems in general, and aerospace systems in particular. Dr Saleh is the author or co-author of fifty technical publications, and the recipient of numerous awards for his teaching and research contributions. He served as a technical consultant to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, I.B.M., and has collaborated on numerous research projects with American and European aerospace companies.
1. Introduction: on time; 2. To reduce or to extend a system design lifetime?; 3. A brief history of the economic thought on durability; 4. Analysis of marginal cost of durability and system cost per day; 5. Flawed metrics: system cost per day and cost per payload; 6. Durability choice and optimal design lifetime for complex engineering systems; Epilogue; Appendix A; Appendix B.