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.

  • News Release

    News Release

    U.S.-Russia-China Cooperation Could Hinder the Proliferation of Hypersonic Missiles, Reduce Risk of Strategic Wars

    Despite their differences, Russia, China and the United States should act jointly to head off a little-recognized security threat—the proliferation of hypersonic missiles beyond the three nations. The spread of this new class of weapons would increase the chance of strategic (missile-based) wars and would jeopardize nations small and large—including the three nations that now have the technology.

    Sep 27, 2017

  • Multimedia

    Hypersonic Missile Nonproliferation

    RAND researchers present an overview of their key findings on hypersonic missiles — a new class of threat that could penetrate most missile defenses and compress the timelines for a nation under attack to respond.

    Sep 27, 2017

  • The X-51A Waverider is set to demonstrate hypersonic flight

    Report

    Hypersonic Missile Nonproliferation

    Hypersonic missiles are a new class of threat that could penetrate most missile defenses and compress the timelines for a nation under attack to respond. The United States, Russia, and China should agree not to export hypersonic missile systems or components to other nations.

    Sep 27, 2017

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    The Russian Space Sector: Adaptation, Retrenchment, and Stagnation

    The journey of the Russian space industry since the collapse of the Soviet Union offers a case study in how Russia, in spite of indications to do otherwise, chose not to break with previous models of behavior and organization.

    Jul 20, 2017

  • Report

    Report

    Using RAND's Military Career Model to Evaluate the Impact of Institutional Requirements on the Air Force Space Officer Career Field

    This report models the impact of changes to Air Force institutional requirements (IRs) on the space officer career field. It examines how IRs affect the ability to fill core requirements, operational development, career experience, and career paths.

    Jul 10, 2017

  • An artist's rendering of a refueling depot for deep-space exploration between Earth and the moon

    Commentary

    Mining the Moon for Rocket Fuel to Get Us to Mars

    Students from around the world participated in the 2017 Caltech Space Challenge. They proposed designs of what a lunar launch and supply station for deep space missions might look like, and how it would work.

    May 16, 2017

  • The first C919 passenger jet made by the Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (Comac) during a news conference at the company's factory in Shanghai, November 2, 2015

    Report

    Chinese Investment in U.S. Aviation Is Not a Threat to Competitiveness

    Since 2005, Chinese companies have acquired, merged, or established joint ventures with more than a dozen U.S. aviation companies. The investment has been limited to smaller manufacturers of technologies not relevant to commercial or military aircraft, likely due to effective U.S. export and foreign investment regulations.

    Apr 10, 2017

  • Alaska Air Guardsmen bid farewell to last C-130 Hercules aircraft, March 4, 2017

    Report

    Air Force Strategic Planning

    With the U.S. Air Force facing pressure to reduce its headquarters staff, many question the utility of strategic planning and the need to produce public strategy documents. A look at past efforts finds that strategic planning is still needed, but perhaps not in its current form.

    Feb 28, 2017

  • NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) 70-metric-ton configuration is seen launching to space in this undated artist's rendering released August 2, 2014

    Report

    Developing a Risk Assessment Methodology for NASA

    A decision support methodology integrates risk factors and risk management approaches tailored to NASA's management, operations, and acquisition structures. Designed for non-experts, any decisionmaker with any level of training can use it to compare risks within a common lens.

    Jun 29, 2016

  • A test plane in a wind tunnel at NASA's Ames Research Center

    Report

    Expanding Flight Research: Capabilities, Needs, and Management Options for NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate

    NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate asked RAND to assess flight research capabilities and needs, and to identify management options that would facilitate increased and improved flight research.

    Jun 27, 2016

  • An A-29 Super Tucano flies over Afghanistan during a training mission, April 6, 2016

    Report

    Innovation in the United States Air Force

    An assessment of historical cases of Air Force innovation — or apparent failure to innovate — sheds light on whether the service is sufficiently innovative today and what can be done to make it more innovative for the future.

    May 13, 2016

  • Report

    Report

    Enhancing Space Resilience Through Non-Materiel Means

    Because changes to space systems are costly, the Air Force asked RAND to identify non-materiel means -- doctrine, organization, training, leadership and education, personnel, facilities, and policy -- to enhance resilience.

    Apr 28, 2016

  • Report

    Report

    RAPAPORT (Resilience Assessment Process and Portfolio Option Reporting Tool): Background and Method

    Describes industry methods for determining space resilience, the authors' method for the evaluating the non-materiel aspects of resilience, and the tool they developed for performing these resilience calculations and presenting the results.

    Apr 28, 2016

  • An employee checks the engine at the A320 family final assembly line at an Airbus factory in Tianjin, China, August 12, 2015

    Testimony

    Implications of China's Aerospace Industrial Policies

    China aims to create a globally competitive commercial aviation and space industry. Its efforts have had limited impact on the U.S. aerospace sector so far, but the creation of a strong Chinese competitor could affect the U.S. economy and employment.

    Apr 27, 2016

  • The U.S. Air Force's Maui Optical and Supercomputing Site at the summit of Haleakala on the Hawaiian island of Maui

    Report

    Best Practices for Sustainable Operations at the Air Force's Observatory on Maui

    The Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing Site on the Hawaiian island of Maui is a major site of U.S. space surveillance activity. A study of best practices implemented at similar research institutions offers suggestions for how the Air Force might further streamline its operations and lower operating costs.

    Apr 22, 2016

  • A satellite orbiting Earth

    Commentary

    The Democratization of Space

    A new economic model for outer space must account for lower barriers to entry and the involvement of more and more stakeholders, such as developing countries and start-ups.

    Mar 28, 2016

  • Periodical

    Periodical

    RAND Review: March-April 2016

    This issue highlights RAND research on new ways to measure wellbeing in cities; effects of cigarette advertising on teens; supermarkets in so-called "food deserts"; the decline of civics education in American schools; and more.

    Feb 29, 2016

  • A J-31 stealth fighter of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force landing

    Commentary

    RAND Conference Examines Chinese Aerospace Training and Leadership

    To help foster a better understanding of the aerospace component of China's military modernization efforts, participants from the U.S. Air Force, the DoD, and the public policy research and academic communities gathered for the inaugural CASI conference.

    Jul 10, 2015

  • Technicians assemble a small satellite

    Report

    Past Problems and Future Challenges in the Acquisition of Military Space Systems

    As Department of Defense plans for the next-generation space systems in an increasingly challenging fiscal and security environment, it is important to apply lessons learned from past space acquisition, which had experienced many difficulties.

    Mar 30, 2015

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Competition and Collaboration in Space Between the U.S., China, and Australia: Woomera to WGS and the Impact of Changing U.S. National Space Security Policy

    Australian space activities have been reinvigorated, but remain underfunded. China's space activities remain vigorous, but largely unilateral. Given U.S. policy changes, opportunities for cooperation and collaboration among all three have improved.

    Mar 5, 2015