Cover: An Evolutionary Approach to Space Launch Commercialization

An Evolutionary Approach to Space Launch Commercialization

Published 1993

by Brian G. Chow


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This study classifies launch contracts into three types: government (GLs), commercial (CLs) and commercial-like launches (CLLs). Contrary to a view that GLs are more reliable, it found that the launch reliabilities under all three types cannot be considered statistically different with 95 percent confidence. An analytic approach was developed to determine whether a particular government launch program should be procured commercially. The study recommends an evolutionary approach to space launch commercialization, starting with small launchers and then medium-lift launchers such as the Deltas and Atlases. Whether the Titan IVs should be commercialized in the future depends on how well the commercialization of medium-lift launchers fares. The study also recommends that the Department of Defense concentrate its new launcher development on the most commercially relevant range, which is the capability to lift 10,000 to 50,000 pounds of payload into low earth orbits. Other recommendations are related to the deletion of undesirable contract features and steps to strengthen launch competitiveness.

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