Bunched Launch, Bunched Acquisition, and Work-Arounds

Elements of Alternative Spacecraft Acquisition Policies

by Bruno Augenstein, Dave J. Dreyfuss, Anson G. Parish

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Spacecraft acquisition policy is reviewed to determine whether, and to what degree, variations in acquisition methods can lower total space system costs without loss of operational capability. The authors conclude that there is an alternative to the conventional acquisition strategy that would involve changes both in the conventional procurement process and in the conventional launch process. This alternative decreases system costs while increasing operational capability, and it is equally useful with either an expendable booster or a Space Transportation System recoverable booster used for launch. The concept would call for bunched launch (launching the total mission-required spacecraft in as short a time as possible) and bunched procurement (buying the total number of satellites needed at one time). The alternative strategy would require accommodations to institutional constraints and the present legal and regulatory framework.

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