Blind Study Validating Parametric Costing Tools PRICE Trueplanning and SEER-H for NASA Science Missions


Two of the primary parametric costing tools used to estimate the development and production cost of future spacecraft hardware are PRICE TruePlanning-Space Missions Catalog by PRICE Systems, and SEER-H by Galorath. These are standard tools used by NASA and industry to estimate the cost of new aerospace hardware. However, no independent verification of the accuracy of these tools is publicly available. Both PRICE Systems and Galorath have completed internal validation studies of their parametric cost estimating tools; however, they only provided the results of the studies and did not detail the exact methods used to perform the validation. In the present study, cost estimators used PRICE TruePlanning and SEER-H to estimate the cost of twelve different past NASA science missions. The estimators were prevented from knowing the actual cost of the missions in an effort to minimize cognitive biases. In the present study, SEER had an average error of 23%, median error of-0.3%, with a standard deviation of 43%. PRICE had an average error of 52%, median error of 50%, and standard deviation of 45%. There were several factors independent of PRICE and SEER which may have affected the accuracy of the results in the present study including: uncertainty in the technical data used for the estimates, the methods used to estimate uncertainty in spacecraft component mass and numbers of prototypes, and the experience of the estimators.

Meeting Name

AIAA Space and Astronautics Forum and Exposition, 2018 (2018: Sep. 17-19, Orlando, FL)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Center for High Performance Computing Research

Keywords and Phrases

Cost benefit analysis; Errors; Hardware; NASA; Space flight; Statistics; Uncertainty analysis, Cost estimators; Future spacecraft; Parametric cost estimating tools; Production cost; Science missions; Spacecraft components; Standard deviation; Validation study, Cost estimating

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2018 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Sep 2018