Operationally Responsive Spacelift: Supporting a Seven-Day Launch Schedule
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA
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In 2001, the Air Force issued AFSPC 001-01, Mission Need Statement for Operationally Responsive Spacelift, identifying the need for a responsive launch system ready to launch and reach orbit within hours of call-up to deploy space assets in support of military operations. Current range operations include months and often years of pre-launch planning and infrastructure development in order to meet launch vehicle, customer, and safety constraints. This thesis studies the Air Force s limited ability to support small satellite launches into sun-synchronous low earth orbit in response to a Tier-2 ORS request, focusing on launching from a single range with two different small payload launch vehicles and investigates the potential for making spacelift more responsive. This investigation determined that the Air Force is not currently capable of launching either vehicle type within a seven day schedule due to a variety of doctrinal, procedural, and resource challenges and restrictions. This thesis presents several suggested changes and risk mitigation options for overcoming these shortfalls in equipment, personnel, and paperwork to increase the responsiveness of spacelift in support of the Air Force and DoD launch objectives.
- Unmanned Spacecraft