Blind Validation Study of Parametric Cost Estimation Tool SEER-H for NASA Space Missions


One of the primary parametric cost modeling tools used by NASA and the aerospace industry to estimate the development and production cost of future spacecraft hardware is SEER-H by Galorath. To date, no independent validation of this tool for cost estimation of space missions has been reported in the literature. In the present validation study, cost estimators used 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. The point estimates of SEER-H had an average error of 23%, median error of -0.3%, and a standard deviation of 43%. Nine of the twelve mission's actual costs fell within the 80% confidence interval of SEER's probabilistic estimates. Several factors independent of SEER that may have affected the accuracy of the results have been identified and are discussed; these include: 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.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Center for High Performance Computing Research


This work was supported primarily by the NASA Pathways program, with additional support from the Vehicle Analysis Branch at NASA Langley Research Center.

Keywords and Phrases

Cost estimation; Parametric costing tools; SEER-H; Validation

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Article - Journal

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© 2020 Elsevier Ltd, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2020