Space Science and Technology


RAND was an early leader in the field of space science, producing seminal works in the design, launch, and operation of satellites in the 1940s and '50s. RAND continues to pursue space studies: Current topics include international cooperation (and the United States' dependency on foreign components), orbital debris (or "space junk"), and the funding of space missions.

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


    Debris Poses Increased Threat to Exploration

    May 16, 2014

    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.

  • space launch


    A Public-Private Model for Funding Space Missions

    Jul 23, 2013

    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.

Explore Space Science and Technology