Aerospace

Since our first days as an independent organization, RAND has had researchers exploring ways to improve spacecraft. Today, this work continues as analysts examine issues related to communications satellites and private space industry.

  • Report

    Improving Acquisition to Support the Space Enterprise Vision

    A new RAND report examines potential acquisition approaches to support the Space Enterprise Vision and identifies several promising ones that merit in-depth examination: modular open system architectures, agile acquisition, rapid prototyping.

    Jul 15, 2020

  • Astronauts on a planet looking at outer space, illustration by yogysic/Getty Images

    Blog

    How Accurate Were Predictions for the Future?

    Anticipating the risks and opportunities posed by all kinds of change is a RAND specialty. In 1964, using RAND's now-famous Delphi method, experts pondered topics like medical advancements, space, artificial intelligence, and controlling the weather.

    Jul 14, 2020

  • A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket lifts off from historic launch pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, February 6, 2018, photo by Thom Baur/Reuters

    Commentary

    Protecting the U.S. Supply on Heavy Lift Launch Vehicles

    Our recent RAND report on the global heavy lift launch market highlights the potential for a near term shortage of launch vehicles needed to lift U.S. defense and intelligence satellites to orbit. These satellites are the eyes, ears, networks and timekeepers of U.S. armed services, and an inability to launch them in times of need could compromise national security.

    May 6, 2020

  • A United Launch Alliance Delta IV-Heavy rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 37B

    Report

    The Impact of the Air Force's Space Launch Acquisition Decisions

    How could potential U.S. Air Force decisions in the near term affect domestic launch providers and the market in general? New launch market forecasts and vignettes illuminate potential strategies for U.S. firms.

    Apr 28, 2020

  • Tool

    Space Launch Market for Heavy Lift Vehicles: Charts and Data Set of Addressable Launches 2007–2018

    This chart describes addressable launches of heavy lift vehicles from 2007-2018. The portion of the space launch market over which commercial firms compete is known as the addressable share.

    Apr 28, 2020

  • Russell Shaver with sisters Ann Lloyd (L) and Sally Bauernfeind (R), photo courtesy of the Shaver family

    Announcement

    Russell Shaver, RAND Policy Analyst Who Studied Space Shuttle and Post-9/11 Airport Security, Dies at 83

    Russell D. Shaver, a former senior researcher at the RAND Corporation whose work influenced national policy debates on American military defense strategy, the economic feasibility of the early Space Shuttle program, and airport security after the 9/11 attacks, died March 31 in Fort Myers, Florida, from complications of Alzheimer's disease. He was 83.

    Apr 13, 2020

  • News Release

    New Space Force Will Need Resources, Clear Definition of Warfighting Mission

    To meet the goals of the U.S. Space Force most space activities in the Department of Defense should be moved into the new service. Moreover, it will be critical that the Space Force clearly define and clarify its space warfighting mission.

    Mar 13, 2020

  • A military camouflage uniform bearing a U.S. Space Force nametape and U.S. Space Command shoulder patch, January 17, 2020, photo by U.S. Space Force/Handout via Reuters

    Research Brief

    How to Build an Effective, Efficient, and Independent Space Force

    To increase its likelihood of developing into a successful organization, the new U.S. Space Force should define and clarify its space warfighting missions. And most space activities in the Department of Defense should be moved into the new service.

    Mar 13, 2020

  • light in space

    Report

    A Separate Space: Creating a Military Service for Space

    As the United States creates the Space Force as a service within the Department of the Air Force, RAND assessed which units to bring into the Space Force, analyzed career field sustainability and drew lessons from other defense organizations.

    Mar 13, 2020

  • The West Coast Aerospace Forum provides a rare chance to engage with some of the Air Force's most senior and experienced leaders as well as top civilian national security experts in a setting that encourages debate, discussion, and audience interaction.

    Report

    An Air and Space Force Designed for the Future

    At the fifth annual West Coast Aerospace Forum, some of the Air Force's most senior leaders joined RAND researchers and other top national security experts to discuss important issues related to the future of air and space power.

    Feb 4, 2020

  • Dissertation

    A Need for Speed? Identifying the Effects of Space Acquisition Timelines on Space Deterrence and Conflict Outcomes

    Investigates the link between acquisition timelines and space conflict using a mixed-methods approach of game-theoretic modeling and case study analysis.

    Dec 24, 2019

  • Periodical

    RAND Review: November-December 2019

    This issue spotlights research on veteran suicide; liability implications of driverless cars; and new approaches to improving the post-incarceration experience. The Giving column highlights a million-dollar gift to fund research on homeless veterans.

    Oct 28, 2019

  • Journal Article

    A Moonshot for Extraterrestrial Communication

    Speculating on recent efforts to establish contact with intelligent extraterrestrials.

    Aug 6, 2019

  • Blog

    Childhood Trauma, Space Traffic, China–Russia Relations: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on a program that helps children exposed to trauma, making outer space safer, tighter China–Russia relations, and more.

    Apr 26, 2019

  • Three tiny satellites photographed by an Expedition 33 crew member on the International Space Station, October 4, 2012, photo by NASA

    Commentary

    Space Safety Coordination: A Norm for All Nations

    As space becomes more congested with satellites, the need for every nation to actively participate in the space safety coordination system grows. Most spacefaring countries participate, but a few countries do not—notably, Russia and China. That creates greater potential for collisions and hazards from debris.

    Apr 16, 2019

  • A PLAAF J-20 stealth fighter performs during the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, China, November 6, 2018

    Report

    How the U.S. Air Force Shapes China's Military Aerospace Goals

    Aerospace power has been a core feature of the People's Liberation Army's rapid modernization. The main driver for its development is the PLA's view that it needs to be prepared to deter and, if necessary, defeat the United States in a high-end clash.

    Nov 21, 2018

  • People cycling and jogging in Chicago by Michigan lake.

    Content

    Community Health and Environmental Policy

    The Community Health and Environmental Policy program focuses on such topics as infrastructure, science and technology, community design, community health promotion, migration and population dynamics, transportation, energy, and climate and the environment.

    Nov 1, 2018

  • Clockwise from top left: RAND's JOHNNIAC mainframe computer, the RAND Tablet, a mobile phone, and an autonomous vehicle

    Essay

    70 Years of Innovation at RAND

    Seventy years ago, a group of researchers established the independent RAND Corporation. From the first satellite design, to helping ensure GPS as a public good, to laying the groundwork for the internet, RAND has been making a difference ever since.

    May 9, 2018

  • North Korean defectors living in South Korea hold balloons containing leaflets and CDs denouncing Kim Jong-un near the demilitarized zone north of Seoul, February 16, 2013

    Report

    Options for Flying Contraband into North Korea

    Activist groups in South Korea are seeking improvements in the balloons they use to carry political, religious, and humanitarian materials across the border into North Korea. Balloon delivery techniques have evolved and some have started using hexacopter drones. How effective are these methods?

    Apr 2, 2018

  • A U.S. Air Force B-52 prepares to carry the X-51 Hypersonic Vehicle out to the range for a launch test from Edwards AFB, California, May 1, 2013

    Commentary

    Hypersonic Missiles: A New Proliferation Challenge

    Within 10 years, hypersonic missiles are likely to be deployed and offered on the international market. But there is time for action by states that do not want hypersonic missiles to flourish in their neighborhoods. It is time to move toward heading off this threat while it is still possible to do so.

    Mar 29, 2018