Satellites

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket lifts off from historic launch pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., February 6, 2018

    Commentary

    Our Reliance on Space Tech Means We Should Prepare for the Worst

    Space-enabled connectivity, technology, and services support a diverse array of political, military, and economic activities, many of which modern life on Earth relies upon and which the public often takes for granted. How prepared is global society to deal with the growing reliance on this technology and to mitigate associated risks?

    Mar 12, 2018

  • Tool

    Tool

    Defensive Space Analysis Tool (DSPAT): Version 2.0

    This manual explains how to use the Defensive Space Analysis Tool (DSPAT), which was developed to compare alternative approaches to space control in terms of their mission effectiveness, feasibility, escalation risk, and political cost.

    Jan 5, 2018

  • Report

    Report

    Gaming Space: A Game-Theoretic Methodology for Assessing the Deterrent Value of Space Control Options

    This report introduces and explains a game-theoretic methodology to help decisionmakers assess the potential effects of alternative approaches to space control.

    Jan 5, 2018

  • Mert Davies' briefcase in the 1960s

    Blog

    Mert Davies: All-Star Pioneer of the Cosmos

    Merton Davies spent his early years using satellite imagery to spy on terrestrial targets. His work led to the first successful reconnaissance satellite, Corona. Later, he used deep-space photographs to map the planets in our solar system.

    Jan 5, 2018

  • Dissertation

    Dissertation

    Deterring Space War: An Exploratory Analysis Incorporating Prospect Theory into a Game Theoretic Model of Space Warfare

    This dissertation uses a game theoretic model of space war to examine how sentiments in multiple dimensions impact state decisions regarding whether to expand a ground war into the space domain.

    Dec 21, 2017

  • A man using a radio transceiver

    Report

    Signals Intelligence for Anyone

    Signals intelligence (SIGINT) is intelligence gathered from communications, electronics, or foreign instrumentation. This has traditionally been considered a governmental function. But new technologies are changing that. Now private citizens can conduct SIGINT activities.

    Dec 5, 2017

  • Report

    Report

    The U.S.-Japan Alliance and Deterring Gray Zone Coercion in the Maritime, Cyber, and Space Domains

    China is trying to change the status quo in the Indo-Pacific through gray zone coercion -- actions below the threshold that would trigger a military response. This report focuses on deterring such coercion in the maritime, cyber, and space domains.

    Nov 20, 2017

  • Report

    Report

    The Creation of the PLA Strategic Support Force and Its Implications for Chinese Military Space Operations

    This report explores the missions and organization of China's Strategic Support Force, created in 2015 to develop and employ space capabilities, in particular launch and operation of satellites to provide C4ISR capabilities for joint operations.

    Nov 10, 2017

  • 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

  • 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

  • Young woman texting in car

    Commentary

    What if Distracted Driving Was Safe?

    According to consumer research, the ability to consume media, write an email, or even sleep during transport is a key selling point for self-driving cars, which could be available in the near future. Autonomous vehicle technology could also produce a wide range of public benefits.

    Jul 1, 2014

  • satellite image courtesy of NOAA

    Report

    A Safe Way to Implement a Database of Satellite Anomalies

    Satellite anomalies are malfunctions caused by solar particles, cosmic rays, or even space debris. A shared database could help identify solutions to prolong the lifetime of spacecraft that experience problems, and could be implemented in a way that would protect the privacy of the satellite operators.

    Jun 2, 2014

  • A computer-generated image of objects in Earth orbit that are currently being tracked, 95% of which is orbital debris

    Commentary

    Debris Poses Increased Threat to Exploration

    Every satellite launch and maneuver is carefully coordinated because some orbits are strewn with the space-based equivalent of blown tires, abandoned vehicles, loose gravel and, of course, other traffic. Earth's orbit is littered with hundreds of thousands of debris objects.

    May 16, 2014

  • Report

    Report

    Evaluation of National Institute of Justice–Funded Geospatial Software Tools: Technical and Utility Assessments to Improve Tool Development, Dissemination, and Usage

    A geospatial software tool-evaluation study assessed 14 recent tool developments funded by the National Institute of Justice. The study integrates input from tool developers and tool users with RAND's independent tool assessments.

    Apr 3, 2014

  • Report

    Report

    Achieving Higher-Fidelity Conjunction Analyses Using Cryptography to Improve Information Sharing

    Examines the applicability of secure multiparty computation (MPC) protocols as a means to compute the collision probability of two satellites (conjunction analyses) while maintaining the privacy of each operator's orbital information.

    Feb 12, 2014

  • Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province

    Commentary

    Satellites for Rent

    Reports earlier this year that the U.S. Department of Defense leased a Chinese satellite to support military operations in Africa sparked concern that the arrangement could compromise control over U.S. military communications, or, worse, allow Chinese intelligence gatherers access to privileged military data.

    Nov 8, 2013