Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Aerospace Engineering

First Advisor

Christina Bloebaum


In the past 50 years, the military, communication, and transportation systems that permeate our world, have grown exponentially in size and complexity. The development and production of these systems has seen ballooning costs and increased risk. This is particularly critical for the aerospace industry. The inability to deal with growing system complexity is a crippling force in the advancement of engineered systems. Value-Driven Design represents a paradigm shift in the field of design engineering that has potential to help counteract this trend. The philosophy of Value-Driven Design places the desires of the stakeholder at the forefront of the design process to capture true preferences and reveal system alternatives that were never previously thought possible.

Modern aerospace engineering design problems are large, complex, and involve multiple levels of decision-making. To find the best design, the decision-maker is often required to analyze hundreds or thousands of combinations of design variables and attributes. Visualization can be used to support these decisions, by communicating large amounts of data in a meaningful way. Understanding the design space, the subsystem relationships, and the design uncertainties is vital to the advancement of Value-Driven Design as an accepted process for the development of more effective, efficient, robust, and elegant aerospace systems.

This research investigates the use of multi-dimensional data visualization tools to support decision-making under uncertainty during the Value-Driven Design process. A satellite design system comprising a satellite, ground station, and launch vehicle is used to demonstrate effectiveness of new visualization methods to aid in decision support during complex aerospace system design. These methods are used to facilitate the exploration of the feasible design space by representing the value impact of system attribute changes and comparing the results of multi-objective optimization formulations with a Value-Driven Design formulation. The visualization methods are also used to assist in the decomposition of a value function, by representing attribute sensitivities to aid with trade-off studies. Lastly, visualization is used to enable greater understanding of the subsystem relationships, by displaying derivative-based couplings, and the design uncertainties, through implementation of utility theory. The use of these visualization methods is shown to enhance the decision-making capabilities of the designer by granting them a more holistic view of the complex design space.


Copyright Owner

Elliott Tibor



File Format


File Size

69 pages