Space Science and Technology

  • Satellite space station

    Blog

    Space Talk Launches Politics Aside

    Hundreds of guests packed the Cary Grant Theatre at Sony Studios to kick off RAND's Politics Aside event with a discussion on space technology, policy, and leadership. Matt Miller, columnist, author, and radio host moderated the panel, which included Simonetta Di Pippo, Director of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs; George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic; and NASA astronaut Cady Coleman.

    Nov 14, 2014

  • Yool Kim and other witnesses at the July 16, 2014 joint hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Strategic Forces and Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee

    Commentary

    Should the U.S. Rely on Russian Rocket Engines?

    One of the two launch vehicles that lift U.S. satellites into orbit depends on a rocket engine made by a company located in Russia. Russia's recent clashes with Ukraine and its claims on the Crimean peninsula have caused friction with the United States and thereby raised questions among U.S. policymakers about the potential for an interruption in the supply of the engines.

    Jul 16, 2014

  • Launch vehicle lift-off for evolved expendable launch vehicle program

    Testimony

    Does Reliance on Foreign Component Supply Chains Put U.S. Launch Vehicles at Risk?

    While there are both risks and benefits of using foreign components in the U.S. Air Force Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program, the risk of potential supply interruption of most foreign components is manageable. To mitigate those risks, trade-offs of costs, schedules, and mission significance must be considered.

    Jul 16, 2014

  • satellite image courtesy of NOAA

    Report

    A Safe Way to Implement a Database of Satellite Anomalies

    Satellite anomalies are malfunctions caused by solar particles, cosmic rays, or even space debris. A shared database could help identify solutions to prolong the lifetime of spacecraft that experience problems, and could be implemented in a way that would protect the privacy of the satellite operators.

    Jun 2, 2014

  • A computer-generated image of objects in Earth orbit that are currently being tracked, 95% of which is orbital debris

    Commentary

    Debris Poses Increased Threat to Exploration

    Every satellite launch and maneuver is carefully coordinated because some orbits are strewn with the space-based equivalent of blown tires, abandoned vehicles, loose gravel and, of course, other traffic. Earth's orbit is littered with hundreds of thousands of debris objects.

    May 16, 2014

  • Report

    Achieving Higher-Fidelity Conjunction Analyses Using Cryptography to Improve Information Sharing

    Examines the applicability of secure multiparty computation (MPC) protocols as a means to compute the collision probability of two satellites (conjunction analyses) while maintaining the privacy of each operator's orbital information.

    Feb 12, 2014

  • Haleakala Observatory — AEOS 3.67-meter telescope is the largest in the Department of Defense.

    Report

    A Sixty-Year Timeline of the Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing Site

    Since it was built in the 1950s, the Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing Site's mission, management structure, and operational partners have changed several times to accommodate the contemporary challenges and research tools. This timeline documents some of those historical changes.

    Dec 16, 2013

  • Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province

    Commentary

    Satellites for Rent

    Reports earlier this year that the U.S. Department of Defense leased a Chinese satellite to support military operations in Africa sparked concern that the arrangement could compromise control over U.S. military communications, or, worse, allow Chinese intelligence gatherers access to privileged military data.

    Nov 8, 2013

  • Report

    Increasing Flexibility and Agility at the National Reconnaissance Office: Lessons from Modular Design, Occupational Surprise, and Commercial Research and Development Processes

    To help the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) become more flexible and agile in an increasingly uncertain world, RAND researched whether the NRO might benefit from building modular satellites and examined how professionals respond to surprise.

    Aug 14, 2013

  • space launch

    Blog

    A Public-Private Model for Funding Space Missions

    The future of manned space flight, including missions to Mars and other deep space destinations, will likely depend on the combined resources of governments and commercial enterprises, say Dave Baiocchi and William Welser.

    Jul 23, 2013

  • Report

    Facilitating Information Sharing Across the International Space Community: Lessons from Behavioral Science

    Based on a review of relevant research literature, this report examines ways to encourage the space community to share information that will help its members navigate increasing numbers of satellites and space debris.

    May 2, 2013

  • The International Space Station

    Commentary

    Kill the Space Launch System to Save Human Spaceflight

    Even in the face of a budgetary spending cap and the ever-looming possibility of new cuts, NASA continues investing in a robust and diverse human spaceflight program. But with fiscal uncertainty expected to continue, it should consider reordering its spending priorities.

    Apr 5, 2013

  • space

    Commentary

    Satellite Collision Is a Reminder of Challenges Posed by Space Debris

    Solving the problem of space debris isn't going to be easy because, like spilled petroleum products, debris can spend years lurking in an environment that is foreign to most people's daily lives, write Dave Baiocchi and William Welser.

    Mar 15, 2013

  • Meteorite and the Earth

    Commentary

    The Effects of Celestial Events Go Beyond Their Impact

    While the event in Russia was caused by a medium-sized (10,000-ton) meteor, larger objects, like the asteroid 2012 DA14 that also passed near Earth last week, have the potential to be significantly more damaging, write Dave Baiocchi and William Welser.

    Feb 20, 2013

  • A United Launch Alliance Delta IV-Medium rocket carrying the fourth Wideband Global SATCOM satellite

    Commentary

    Intelsat Crash a Setback for Space Lift Competition

    Sea Launch's recent failure means more than just a lost payload and revenue for Intelsat: It means the status quo for launch services will continue for a while longer, write Dave Baiocchi and William Welser.

    Feb 12, 2013

  • Report

    Actualizing Flexible National Security Space Systems

    Three essays that address some of the challenges associated with improving the flexibility of National Security Space capabilities.

    Nov 15, 2011

  • Report

    RAND Review: Vol. 35, No. 1, Spring 2011

    Stories discuss gays in the military, police recruitment, home health care, breast cancer, health insurance exchanges, alternative fuels, refinery taxes, alcohol prices, outer space debris, mental illness, diplomatic trends, and health care costs.

    Apr 29, 2011

  • Earth in space

    Report

    Orbital Debris Poses a Growing Threat to Satellites in Space

    Orbital debris represents a threat to the operation of man-made objects in space, such as satellite television and weather satellites. Currently, there are hundreds of thousands of objects greater than one centimeter in diameter in Earth's orbit.

    Nov 2, 2010

  • Report

    Deterrence and First-Strike Stability in Space: A Preliminary Assessment

    The United States needs a coherent space deterrence strategy that operates on both sides of a potential adversary's cost-benefit decision calculus to better protect U.S. national security space infrastructure and strengthen first-strike stability.

    Apr 2, 2010

  • Commentary

    Space: The Final Junkyard?

    Celestial real estate is increasingly popular. All in all more than 900 satellites, along with tens of thousands of bits of man-made space detritus, jockey for elbow room overhead. The result: a growing threat our atmosphere will soon become so crowded with floating junk as to become almost unusable, write Caroline Reilly and Peter D. Zimmerman.

    Apr 2, 2009