Current architectural and design trade techniques often carry unaffordable alternatives late into the decision process. Early decisions made during the concept exploration and development (CE&D) phase will drive the cost of a program more than any other phase of development; thus, designers must be able to assess both the performance and cost impacts of their early choices. The Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) cost engineering model (CEM) described in this paper is an end-to-end process integrating engineering and cost expertise through commonly available spreadsheet software, allowing for concurrent design engineering and cost estimation to identify and balance system drives to reduce acquisition costs. The automated interconnectivity between subsystem models using spreadsheet software allows for the quick and consistent assessment of the system design impacts and relative cost impacts due to requirement changes. It is different from most CEM efforts attempted in the past as it incorporates more detailed spacecraft and sensor payload models, and has been applied to determine the cost drivers for an advanced infrared satellite system acquisition. The CEM is comprised of integrated detailed engineering and cost estimating relationships describing performance, design, and cost parameters. Detailed models have been developed to evaluate design parameters for the spacecraft bus and sensor; both step-starer and scanner sensor types incorporate models of focal plane array, optics, processing, thermal, communications, and mission performance. The current CEM effort has provided visibility to requirements, design, and cost drivers for system architects and decision makers to determine the configuration of an infrared satellite architecture that meets essential requirements cost effectively. In general, the methodology described in this paper consists of process building blocks that can be tailored to the needs of many applications. Descriptions of the spacecraft and payload subsystem models provide insight into The Aerospace Corporation expertise and scope of the SBIRS concept development effort.