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.

  • SpaceX Starlink mission, photo by SpaceX/ CC BY 2.0

    Commentary

    Satellite Internet Services—Fostering the Dictator's Dilemma?

    The ability to provide relatively low cost internet access outside of government control is both a challenge for authoritarian states and an opportunity for democracies. What are low-altitude, low-latency satellites and why are authoritarian states so concerned?

    Apr 12, 2021

  • The United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 rocket launches from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida, July 30, 2020, photo by Frank Michaux/NASA

    Commentary

    Navigating Norms for the New Space Era

    To make better progress on global norms for responsible behavior in space, the U.S. defense and intelligence communities might first consider reaching a consensus among themselves on what these norms should be. Until they reconcile their differences the United States will be less likely be in a position to play a leadership role.

    Feb 8, 2021

  • Blog

    Prescription Drug Prices, Transgender Troops, Space Diplomacy: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on America's high prescription drug prices, allowing transgender troops in the military, food insecurity in Black neighborhoods, and more.

    Jan 29, 2021

  • 3D rendering of earth with red lines representing communication or weapons, photo by DKosig/Getty Images

    Commentary

    How Joe Biden Can Galvanize Space Diplomacy

    The potential for conflicts to originate in outer space, or for terrestrial conflicts to extend there, has grown with the development of counterspace weapons and the explosion of commercial space activity. But previous efforts to establish norms have had limited results. The Biden administration has an opportunity, working with like-minded allies and partners, to galvanize nascent international efforts.

    Jan 15, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    RAND Space Launch Virtual Panel

    A virtual panel discussion hosted by the RAND Space Enterprise Initiative tackles issues related to the global space launch enterprise.

    Dec 8, 2020

  • A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying Starlink satellites into orbit lifts off from Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL, October 6, 2020, photo by Space X/Latin America News Agency/Reuters

    Commentary

    How to Avoid a Space Arms Race

    Some 70 countries and multinational organizations own or operate satellites and there are plans for many more. Multilateral cooperative efforts could help set a foundation for the adoption of transparency and confidence measures that offer realistic hope of reducing risks and protecting freedom of access to space for all nations.

    Oct 26, 2020

  • RAND Space Enterprise Initiative (crop)

    Multimedia

    Introducing the RAND Space Enterprise Initiative

    RAND Space Enterprise Initiative lead Bruce McClintock describes the mission and goals of the Space Enterprise Initiative and the importance of making space research available to all.

    Sep 4, 2020

  • Report

    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

  • Tool

    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

  • 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

  • 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

    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.

    Multimedia

    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

    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

    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

    Journal Article

    A Moonshot for Extraterrestrial Communication

    Speculating on recent efforts to establish contact with intelligent extraterrestrials.

    Aug 6, 2019