We presented the results of an independent study last month at NASA’s annual Cost Symposium.  For those of you unable to attend, we thought it only fair to publish the highlights.  As background, the TruePlanning for Space Missions Catalog (“TPSM”) has been well-received since its official launch at last year’s Symposium by our Chief Scientist.  Since then, we’ve done Space-related webinars and multiple blogs, all available on this website. 

However, what was impressed upon us by a longtime NASA customer, at the recent ICEEA annual conference, was that our users would highly benefit from a validation study that they could share with their internal management.  We here at PRICE are always willing & able to support our customers; we certainly want you empowered to demonstrate our product’s usefulness and defensibility.  This new study’s presentation will also be on our website. 

I would just like to highlight our summary.  We used 12 recent NASA robotic Earth and Space Science missions. These past programs with known actuals represent Planetary, Astrophysics and Heliophysics mission-types.  As you can read in the presentation online, typical adjustments were applied to their actuals to normalize for economics, quantity, contributions, external impacts and costs external to TPSM.  We also noted that individual projects allocate costs and programmatics differently.  Likewise, we caveated that a follow-up study should include a larger sample size, particularly with missions representing Earth Science. 

That all said, our results were solid— where we use the usual definition of “error” as difference between predicted and actual, as a percentage of actual:

  • Average Total-Program error across all missions was near 0%, with most projects within +/- 10%. 
  • Instrument Payload (NASA WBS 5.0) and Spacecraft Bus (NASA WBS 6.0) were within +/- 20%, with average error near 5%.
  • Program Management/ System Engineering/ Missions Analysis (NASA WBS 1/2/3), Systems Integration & Testing (WBS 10), and Science/ Mission Operation System/ Ground Data Systems (NASA WBS 4/7/9), had higher errors, but understandable given their allocations from WBS 5/6.

Again, this independent study was relatively small. But we expect similar good results with more observations. What’s more important is the transparency of this validation. It should definitely “answer the mail” for justifying this new TPSM catalog to internal management. But by all means— if you need more substantiation at your organization, please call us. It’s always a pleasure to get your questions answered and get you empowered to sustain internal support for using our tools.



Success can be accelerated by the PRICE® Cost Analytics (PCA) integration of business, engineering, and program management objectives in order to produce competitive solutions. 

 TruePlanning immediately facilitates objective quantitative assessment of customer needs/ requirements, winning-business solutions, and project lifecycle cost management. 

Contact me for a demonstration, either in person or via telecon. We’ve had many success stories here. You can be next!