Reusable Launch Vehicles: Rethinking Access to Space (cover title: Reusable Launch Vehicles and Space Operations)
AIR WAR COLL MAXWELL AFB AL CENTER FOR STRATEGY AND TECHNOLOGY
Pagination or Media Count:
As a result of technological progress, the United States is now on the verge of developing cost-effective reusable launch vehicles RLV for space. This study reviews the strategic implications of the emerging vision within the U.S. Department of Defense for using these vehicles. Although the U.S. Air Force is making the transition to a force that relies increasingly on space, the best path does not necessarily involve replicating the traditional air missions in space. This study of potential missions for RLVs concludes that, while these vehicles are capable of numerous missions e.g., reconnaissance, global strike, cargo and personnel transport, the most important mission for the immediate future for both the U.S. military and commercial firms is in the area of traditional spacelift. The two broad conclusions that emerge from this study are as follows 1 the U.S. military should move away from the spacelift business by obtaining spacelift through commercially procured launch services, and 2 the U.S. military should not develop militarized RLVs that are designed to perform traditional air operations in space.
- Economics and Cost Analysis
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Unmanned Spacecraft