Author Topic: Air Force reusable launch  (Read 3932 times)

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3917
  • Liked: 2362
  • Likes Given: 3252
Re: Air Force reusable launch
« Reply #20 on: 05/11/2017 08:55 PM »
Soon, the USAF will have to start designing/ordering new lines of smaller sats that disaggregate their huge, massively expensive, and quite vulnerable assets.  Will they go to traditional vendors and help them retool, or let market forces solve that one, too?
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Online Space Ghost 1962

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2045
  • Whatcha gonna do when the Ghost zaps you?
  • Liked: 1774
  • Likes Given: 1263
Re: Air Force reusable launch
« Reply #21 on: 05/11/2017 09:47 PM »
Kind of silly.

Quote
The end state of the ORS concept is the ability to address emerging, persistent, and/or unanticipated needs through timely augmentation, reconstitution, and exploitation of space force enhancement, space control, and space support capabilities.
Attempts to do this in the past find that you're usually waiting on the payload, not the vehicle.

Usually because the payload is over-complicated, to take advantage of the LV's payload capability.

Which then slows down the LV because it becomes more complicated, including the time to ready the vehicle and possibly miss the window.

What has been suggested is to stack a small solids vehicle, or to leave it  ready. But this relies on the vehicle and its orbit/window are appropriate for the payload.

Which brings you to concepts like air launch (Pegasus), because you can adapt launch to suit (fly around weather etc).

In practice that isn't done, because it's still too costly and dilatory to get such a mission to the point of flying.

Which explains why ORS in practice does not happen.

Have been studying this issue, and more recently microlaunch concept.

Perhaps a better approach is that you do agile payload development that flies soonest, off agile microlaunch LV's.

So the point is that the gating factor is when the agile team sees the window approaching for a potential launch, speculatively pays for a microlaunch on standby for a window/range, integrates a payload/SC/sensor/mission all up to meet that window, and if they make it ontime to the launcher, its launched.

Otherwise the "scrub", for whatever reason, returns the launcher to the provider for a service fee, it's reassigned to a different launch, and things start over again.

You'd get away with this if the cost of a scrub was roughly on a par with the integration cost, such that the loss in the missed window was all up insignificant, so that even the practice as proficiency is its own reward.

That might make ORS worthwhile.

But not Falcon - to big/slow/costly/... You get committed too much to not launch.

The whole point of the Fast Space Report was to encourage the Air Force to explore how it can leverage low cost access to space with Falcon 9 and similar EELV class vehicles, and future fully reusable launch vehicles that are coming down the line if they can find a customer, such as the Department of Defense - not how to lower the launch costs of today's satellites.
Beg to differ.

It is a strategy paper to recognize weaknesses/strengths and adapt to develop a new posture. Part of that is what you're citing.

My "Kind of silly" is with regards to the means of perceiving current SX/BO systems to address this need.

My observations WRT microlaunch specifically address (on page 12) this bullet point:
Quote from: Fast Space
A rapidly deployable launch-on-demand system that requires little ground support equipment and allows for launch from any airfield into any inclination, complicating space situational awareness for others.
In fact, I took it further. Because you need to address the situation with the developed payload/sat. Linked.

As with most strategy papers, there is a disconnect between means, application, and execution.
Quote
Concepts explored include, but are not limited to, building a large number of simpler and less exquisite satellites that are built well in advance and can be placed in space as needed.
This last highlighted point is where things break down IMHO.

It's a misunderstanding of how to apply current technology. And ... a limiting factor in exploiting some of the strategic advantages that the paper points out.

Online RotoSequence

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 665
  • Liked: 511
  • Likes Given: 695
Re: Air Force reusable launch
« Reply #22 on: 05/11/2017 09:57 PM »
I don't understand the point you're making. It's increasingly likely that any war with the US in the not too distant future is going to involve attrition and loss of space based assets. If attrition is all but certain, it's necessary that replacement equipment be available to cycle up as needed, due to the long lead times in some of the system components. Reduced per-satellite complexity increases the effort needed by an adversary to wholly disable the battle network over a given region, and reduces the cost of replacing that component of the system from causes such as malfunction, obsolescence, or enemy action. Wherein lies the misunderstanding of how to apply the technology?

Online Space Ghost 1962

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2045
  • Whatcha gonna do when the Ghost zaps you?
  • Liked: 1774
  • Likes Given: 1263
Re: Air Force reusable launch
« Reply #23 on: 05/12/2017 03:36 PM »
I don't understand the point you're making. It's increasingly likely that any war with the US in the not too distant future is going to involve attrition and loss of space based assets. If attrition is all but certain, it's necessary that replacement equipment be available to cycle up as needed, due to the long lead times in some of the system components.

What we have in hand right now already anticipates this. The improvements in launch frequency and presence of more than one with such launch frequency secures it, under current policy.

Quote
Reduced per-satellite complexity increases the effort needed by an adversary to wholly disable the battle network over a given region, and reduces the cost of replacing that component of the system from causes such as malfunction, obsolescence, or enemy action. Wherein lies the misunderstanding of how to apply the technology?

The nature of the threat has changed in that opportunistic attacks can attempt to target perceived weaknesses in a long term architecture, in the same way that cyberattacks have broadly attacked/found weaknesses in infrastructure.

The window of time on the vulnerability has shrunk to a fraction of what it was before. The only certain way to cover this is to have rapid development (agile) to counter the found weakness and the means to prove that it is countered. This is a different battle than before, because economics affords a more rapid means of conflict.

Its a variation on what Ross Anderson says in The Threat, which covers broadly the topic of global threat/crime. And, an example of where a small but essential need could be restored no matter the vulnerability, see Time Warfare: Threats to GPS Arenít Just About Navigation and Positioning, by minimally just orbiting an evasively engineered in the moment time base to a threat. (Alternatively, can create a navigation system leveraging GPS with sparse deployment for limited tactical need.) In these cases, its all about shortening the response time, as my example post goes into.

Have I answered your question fully? These are posts that are meant to be crisp not comprehensive.

But I do want you to understand what I'm addressing.

Tags: