Crew-Passenger Ratio Implications on Commercial Spaceflight Design & Survivability: A Discrete Event Simulation Framework



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51st International Conference on Environmental Systems


As the commercial/private spaceflight industry begins to take off, it is unclear how many professionally trained staff members should be on-board these trips compared to the number of paying passengers. With airlines and cruise ships, for example, there are specific crew-to-passenger ratios that are followed for safety and customer-experience reasons. However, unlike airlines and cruise ships, the current cost of commercial spaceflight is not yet scalable due to the limited reusability of vehicles. Thus, the business factor is highlighted: each crewmember represents the lack of a paying passenger (i.e., expense rather than revenue). Paramount to the economic perspective, an appropriate balance in occupant composition is worth identifying considering the potential for an emergency and the anticipated response/recovery (i.e., survivability). For example, it can be expected that astronauts or professional crewmembers will have far more training and familiarity with responding to an emergency scenario � thereby being able to act faster and more appropriately � as compared to a paying passenger. The dynamics of this dilemma are further exacerbated by other factors (e.g., launch vehicle, crew vehicle capacity, flight duration, destination location, destination volume, destination layout, number of safe havens, time of emergency, type of emergency, etcetera). This paper presents a discrete event simulation approach to studying the relationship between varying crew-to-passenger ratios and evacuation times within the context of a generic, low-earth orbit, commercial spaceflight design reference mission. A conceptual modeling and simulation framework is provided for preliminary feasibility and safety studies in future commercial spaceflight design.


Victor Kitmanyen, Florida Institute of Technology, US
Hisham Ghunaim, Florida Institute of Technology, US
Kazuhiko Momose, Florida Institute of Technology, US
Luis Otero, Florida Institute of Technology, US
ICES502: Space Architecture
The 51st International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Saint Paul, Minnesota, US, on 10 July 2022 through 14 July 2022.


commercial, spaceflight, emergency, habitability, survivability, egress, evacuation, discrete, event, simulation, modeling