Measuring the Impact of Launch Operations Upon Satellite Effectiveness

by Bruce E. Krell

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Procurement decisions regarding Department of Defense satellite systems are usually based upon the assumption of a reliable and dependable launch system. Attempts to relate disruptions of launch operations to numbers of satellites on-orbit are often in the form of discrete-event simulations (requiring many data inputs and large amounts of computer time). The approach which is adopted in this study is a form of continuous simulation (as opposed to discrete-event simulation), an approach which has traditionally been limited to analysis of systems in the physical sciences. The continuous simulation methodology requires significantly fewer inputs than discrete-event simulations and is amenable to implementation on a programmable, hand-held calculator, saving expensive computer and data-gathering time. Several examples are provided which demonstrate how continuous simulation may be used to model disruptions in launch capability and various satellite operational philosophies.

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