What is “Faster, Better, Cheaper”?
“Faster, Better, Cheaper” (hereafter abbreviated as “FBC”) is a slogan advocated by Daniel Goldin, the former NASA Administrator. From the moment it was introduced, the slogan has been criticized as “three goals that are impossible to achieve at the same time” and “a self-contradiction.” Some even said that “FBC has increased failures at NASA.” It is true that simultaneous achievement of the three goals is difficult, and there may be failures attributable to pursuit of FBC.
However, I believe that there must be ways to realize FBC. “Far faster, far better, far cheaper” may be difficult, but “a little faster, a little better, a little cheaper” must be within the scope of our endeavors. I am studying standardization and digitization as approaches to realize FBC in space development. Here, I would like to explain these approaches.
Standardization is the first approach to achieve FBC in space development. This means that we develop and utilize standard resources, such as products, systems, and pieces of software, applicable to a variety of satellites and mission purposes. A lot of time and effort may be required to develop such resources originally, but once completed, “faster” and “cheaper” will be realized as time and cost requirements per satellite are reduced. “Better” will also become possible by correcting faults in the initial products.
It’s easy to say, but putting it into practice is more difficult. The requirements for each satellite and mission differ greatly, so naturally there will be limitations to integrating all requirements into standard resources. To make it possible, we need a general framework that can cover different requirements. As coverage broadens, it is inevitable that the framework becomes too general and thus it becomes very hard to formulate a framework that is both practical and general. I have been engaged in standardization for years and from my experience creating a good framework depends on our own efforts to formulate good ideas.