Space exploration has always fascinated humanity, from the early days of satellite launches to the latest crewed missions to the International Space Station. However, the cost of building and launching equipment into space remains one of the biggest challenges in the field. As we look towards the future, we predict that the economics of space exploration will become a critical challenge in our ability to sustainably explore and utilize space resources. As a result, it’s imperative to develop and adopt cost-effective space component manufacturing strategies to feasibly continue advancing our understanding of the great unknown.
This article features five of the most cost-effective space manufacturing strategies based on our decades of experience producing components for space exploration, laboratory research, and even Mars missions.
5 Cost-Effective Space Manufacturing Strategies
The following tried-and-true precision space manufacturing strategies can help space exploration companies reduce costs, optimize production processes, and enhance mission success.
1. Use a single-source space manufacturer
Managing multiple vendors comes with several hidden costs, including increased demand for resources and time, increased risk of error, and longer project timelines. We explain these hidden costs on the blog. On the other hand, a single-source space component manufacturer offers a cost-effective solution for streamlining your supply chain. A single source specializes in a full spectrum of manufacturing services under one roof, from design and testing to manufacturing and delivery, reducing the need for multiple vendors and simplifying the production process. This approach offers cost savings by eliminating the costs of managing multiple relationships and contracts. Additionally, a single-source supplier can optimize production processes to improve efficiency and reduce expenses, lending more efficiency and flexibility in mission planning.
Learn more about what you stand to gain from a single-source manufacturer.
2. Prevent unexpected R&D costs
Out-of-control R&D costs derail space exploration projects before they get off the ground. To prevent unexpected budget spikes during the R&D process, consider the following tips:
- Engage a single-source component manufacturer to eliminate inefficiencies.
- Seek a dedicated R&D lab to access all the space manufacturing resources needed for your project.
- Consider rapid prototyping to streamline design, development, and testing and expedite your time to market.
- Work with design for manufacturing (DFM) and design for assembly (DFA) experts to ensure your part is optimally designed before it gets to the production floor.
Delve further into how to use these tips to keep your R&D costs under control.
3. Enlist space manufacturing engineering support
Manufacturing engineering consulting is another cost-conscious space manufacturing strategy involving connecting your design team with degreed engineers and experts in critical manufacturing processes to optimize your space component design specifically for manufacturing. This specialized support can help reduce manufacturing costs by:
- Improving accuracy and precision
- Streamlining the manufacturing process
- Enhancing production efficiency
- Expediting lead times
- Promoting reliable and repeatable production runs
Dig deeper into these bottom-line advantages of manufacturing engineering consulting.
4. Implement design-to-cost (DTC) manufacturing
DTC is a cost-effective manufacturing strategy for optimizing production by designing parts with cost in mind. It is a critical metric of manufacturing feasibility that involves identifying cost drivers and finding ways to reduce them without compromising the quality of your space component. In addition, it focuses on minimizing waste, improving efficiency, and optimizing the supply chain to reduce costs and inefficiencies. By incorporating DTC principles into your space manufacturing processes, you can achieve measurable project cost savings.
DTC is just one cost-effective manufacturing feasibility assessment method. We wrote about three more on the blog.
5. Ensure access to high-end inspection equipment to verify part accuracy
Advanced metrology inspection equipment validates a manufactured part’s accuracy with remarkable precision. These sophisticated technologies can identify and address quality issues early on, minimizing the risk of costly defects and ensuring that components meet your quality standards. Highly accurate parts translate to a more cost-effective manufacturing process by reducing testing, material, and production costs, helping you stay on budget. We profiled five types of high-end metrology inspection equipment in this article.
As we seek to push the boundaries of space exploration, making space exploration more cost-effective and sustainable is critical for humanity’s success. By continuing to develop and adopt cost-effective space component manufacturing strategies, we can make space exploration more accessible, helping to pave the way for more fascinating discoveries.
We are a leading space exploration component manufacturer specializing in producing ultra-precision parts from prototype to volume. Our technically advanced team, sophisticated equipment, and material expertise enable us to maintain tight tolerances on diameter size and cylindricity to the sub-micron level. With over 100 years of combined experience, we offer a comprehensive range of high-precision services under one roof and devise innovative solutions to the toughest manufacturing challenges in space exploration. Reach out to our experts for assistance with your space exploration project.