Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering


Aaron Drake


The conceptual design phase of an aerospace system development program is typically characterized by short duration and relatively limited resources, yet design decisions are made that have critical implications on program risk. To address the more aggressive requirements, one of these decisions is the selection of advanced technologies. System developers need to assess advanced technologies early on, but are faced with uncertainties surrounding the potential net benefits. The concept introduced in this study is uncertainty characterization as a way to better understand the associated risk. A framework was developed to guide the interaction between the technology developer and the system developer. The objective is to gain a more comprehensive landscape of the technology options by explicitly considering the effects of uncertainty in the decision making process. This can ultimately facilitate prioritization and resource management during conceptual design. An example case of advanced wing technology was applied to the design of a high-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle to demonstrate the implementation of the framework.