Space Science and Technology

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RAND was an early leader in the field of space science, producing seminal works in the design, launch, and operation of satellites in the 1940s and '50s. RAND continues to pursue space studies: Current topics include international cooperation (and the United States' dependency on foreign components), orbital debris (or "space junk"), and the funding of space missions.

  • Technicians assemble a small satellite

    Report

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

    Mar 15, 2015

    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.

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

    Blog

    Space Safety Coordination: A Norm for All Nations

    Apr 16, 2019

    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.

Explore Space Science and Technology

  • Report

    Utility of a Satellite Vehicle for Reconnaissance

    The authors investigate the utility of an earth-circling space vehicle as a reconnaissance device. They conclude that TV satellites are feasible and likely to be useful if built and operated.

    Apr 1, 1951

  • Report

    The Satellite Rocket Vehicle: Political and Psychological Problems

    This paper deals with the probable political effects resulting from the launching of a satellite vehicle under United States auspices, and from its successful use for purposes of military intelligence.

    Oct 4, 1950

  • Report

    Mixing in Inhomogeneous Gas Jets

    An analysis of a freely expanding turbulent jet.

    Aug 30, 1949

  • Report

    Communication and Observation Problems of a Satellite

    This report comprises a discussion of problems and requirements of instrumentation for communication between ground stations and a man-made satellite on an orbit above the earth's equator.

    Jan 1, 1947

  • A spaceship near a planet

    Report

    Preliminary Design of an Experimental World-Circling Spaceship

    In 1946, more than 11 years before the orbiting of Sputnik, history's first artificial space satellite, Project RAND—then active within Douglas Aircraft Company's Engineering Division—conducted a study on the feasibility of a space vehicle from an engineering standpoint.

    Jul 1, 1946

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    Jonathan Balk

    Research Assistant
    Education B.S. in aerospace engineering, University of California-Los Angeles

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    Charlie Barton

    Assistant Policy Researcher, RAND; Ph.D. Candidate, Pardee RAND Graduate School
    Education B.S. in astronautical engineering, U.S. Air Force Academy

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    Timothy M. Bonds

    Senior Fellow
    Education M.B.A. in business administration, Washington University in St. Louis; M.S. in aero/astro engineering, University of Illinois; B.S. in aero/astro engineering, University of Michigan

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    Mel Eisman

    Senior Operations Research/Cost Analyst
    Education M.S.I.E. in operations research, Pennsylvania State University; B.S. in industrial engineering, State University of New York

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    Brian Dolan

    Associate Engineer
    Education Ph.D. in aerospace engineering, University of Cincinnati; B.S. in mechanical and aerospace engineering, SUNY Buffalo

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    Moon Kim

    Assistant Policy Researcher, RAND; Ph.D. Candidate, Pardee RAND Graduate School
    Education M.A. in international science and technology policy, George Washington University; B.S. in finance and economics, University of Maryland, College Park

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    Yool Kim

    Senior Engineer; Faculty Member, Pardee RAND Graduate School
    Education Ph.D. in aeronautics and astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; M.S. in aeronautics and astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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    Justin M. Lee

    Assistant Policy Researcher, RAND; Ph.D. Student, Pardee RAND Graduate School
    Education B.A. in political science and international relations, Carleton College; B.A. in physics, Carleton College

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    George Nacouzi

    Senior Engineer; Affiliate Faculty, Pardee RAND Graduate School
    Education B.S. in aero/astro engineering, CSU Poly (Pomona); M.S. in aerospace engineering, UCLA; Ph.D. in aerospace engineering, UCI

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    Nicholas A. O'Donoughue

    Senior Engineer
    Education Ph.D. in electrical engineering, Carnegie Mellon University; M.S. in electrical engineering, Carnegie Mellon University; B.S. in computer engineering, Villanova University

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    Jan Osburg

    Senior Engineer
    Education Ph.D. in aerospace engineering, University of Stuttgart; M.S. in aerospace engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

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    Adrienne M. Propp

    Technical Analyst
    Education M.Sc. in mathematical modeling & scientific computing, University of Oxford; B.A. in applied mathematics, Harvard College

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    Erik Van Hegewald

    Assistant Policy Researcher, RAND; Ph.D. Student, Pardee RAND Graduate School
    Education B.S. in astronautical engineering/applied math, United States Air Force Academy

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    Cortney Weinbaum

    Senior Management Scientist
    Education B.S. in physics, University of Michigan

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    Emmi Yonekura

    Associate Physical Scientist
    Education B.S. in applied mathematics, Columbia University; Ph.D. in atmospheric science, Columbia University