Low-Cost Acess to Space: Military Opportunities and Challenges

Low-Cost Acess to Space: Military Opportunities and Challenges
Low-Cost Access to Space: Military Opportunities and Challenges
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In this study, you will learn about how Information technology developments and interest of commercial space activities has opened a door to ultra-low cost access to space (ULACTS). “Authors of this study, Philip Stockdale, Scott Aughenbaugh, and Nickolas Boensch, have adopted the NDU’s Center of Strategic and International Studies definition of cost of access to space as the cost of placing and maintaining capabilities in space.”

This study also integrates contributions from the Air University’s “Fast Space” study published in year 2016-2017 as part of their analysis within this brief paper. You will discover through these authors’ research that the commercial contributions to this industry through companies, such as SpaceX, have spent more than $1 billion for research and development (r&d) costs for reusable launch vehicles.  The authors describe efforts for reusable launch vehicles that could lead to cost-savings across the industry and provide cyclical use for launch systems in the future.

Additionally, this text explores the military’s use of launch systems for missiles and navigation satellite systems and the procurements that continue to yield high costs.  It showcases:

  • Efforts to create smaller architectures with smaller satellite systems
  • Streamline costs through several government agency budgets
  • Simplify licensing opportunities and processes across several government agencies
  • Explores cooperation through commercial space sectors
  • And more

You will find a dedicated section to recommendations for federal policy and regulation reform based on these forward thinking authors’ contributions within this study.


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U.S. Miltary and government officlas engaged in space access studies and development, officlas and contractors associated within the commercial space industry, academics following the applications of commercial technology and space exploration and military applications.  Additionally, personnel and executives within the commercial space sector, commercial and government space scientists, plus government procurement contract officers, federal communications commission employees, and military space program analysts and leaders may be interested in this study.  Students pursuing research about space based programs and space science technology courses may be interested in this work.

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Defense Dept., National Defense University,
  • Stockdale, Philip
Key Phrases:
  • Defense Horizons No. 83
  • Military Opportunities and Challenges: Low Cost Access to Space
  • Space Exploration
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