Accession Number : AD1013631

Title :   National Security Space Launch at a Crossroads

Descriptive Note : Technical Report


Personal Author(s) : Hildreth,Steven A

Full Text :

Report Date : 13 May 2016

Pagination or Media Count : 16

Abstract : The United States is in the midst of making significant changes in how best to pursue an acquisition strategy that would ensure continued access to space for national security missions. The current strategy for the EELV (Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle) program dates from the 1990s and has since been revised a few times. The program has been dogged by perennial concerns over cost and competition. Those same concerns are a major impetus for change today. The EELV program stands at a crossroads today. Factors that prompted the initial EELV effort in 1994 are once again manifestsignificant increases in launch costs, procurement concerns, and concerns about competition. In addition, a long-standing undercurrent of concern over U.S. reliance on a Russian rocket engine (RD-180) for critical national security space launches on one of the primary EELV rockets was exacerbated by the Russian backlash over U.S. sanctions against Russian actions in Ukraine. Moreover, significant overall EELV program cost increases and unresolved questions over individual launch costs, along with legal challenges to the Air Force EELV program by SpaceX, have contributed to Congress recently taking legislative action that has significantly affected the EELV program. Efforts by the Obama Administration and the Air Force to work with Congress on changing the EELV strategy have been deemed insufficient by those in Congress eager to proceed more quickly and definitively.

Descriptors :   Launch vehicles , Cost estimates , Manned spacecraft

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE