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Spacelift: Search for a National Vision

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Research paper

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The growing importance of space power to the economic, political, and military health of America has emerged in the closing years of this century. As space becomes more dominant as the nations lifeline to the 21st century, modern warfare demands that our armed forces fight as a joint team in uncertain challenging environments. Future warfighting as expressed in Joint Vision 2010 lays out the concepts of dominant maneuver, precision engagement, full dimensional protection, and focused logistics. The proper exploitation of space is vital to these concepts. Recommendations include the following 1 Lead agency concept should be maintained to focus limited resources 2 Consider building a heavy lift vehicle versus a status-quo medium lift vehicle 3 Exploit Russian launch technology to rebuild U.S. spacelift capabilities 4 Consider Russian technical labor to build the next U.S. spacelift vehicle 5 Combine all spacelift acquisitions under a separate appropriation 6 Create separate joint budget authority for spacelift, like SOCOM and 7 budget functions that clearly cut across the traditional Army, Air Force, and Navy roles and missions and are of critical benefit to DoDs joint warfighting future. Under this approach, any service could nominate joint requirements or priorities that DoD would fund off the top of the budget before individual services get their cut. The nation must have a long-range vision of how to exploit space, leadership capable of executing that vision, and proper funding to ensure that it is successful. Nothing less than space dominance capable of ensuring our survival in the next century is at risk. The United States must develop a coherent long-term space launch policy that ensures economical, reliable, and assured access to space. Critical to U.S. space dominance is the development of a mix of manned and unmanned space launch vehicles capable of guaranteeing its present and future roles in space.

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  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Unmanned Spacecraft
  • Manned Spacecraft

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