Development of a domestic space launch ecosystem for optimal support of US national interests
Author(s)Reele, Maximilien H.(Maximilien Harry)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering and Management Program.
System Design and Management Program.
Bryan R. Moser.
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis researches the current capabilities of the US Government's (USG) space launch portfolio and the processes in place to establish new-entrant launch providers for National Security Space payloads. It is hypothesized that there is an infeasibility of the current space launch enterprise to scale to satisfy increased demand. If true, the USG will be unable to meet projected launch requirements to satisfy nominal demand for NSS disaggregated constellations. Moreover, the USG will be unable to maintain space superiority in the aftermath of the eventual loss of NSS satellites due to adversary attacks and environmental events. A USG space launch enterprise system architecture analysis is conducted using a quantitative and qualitative approach that is designed to promote objectivity, resulting in a prioritized list of system requirements and primary stakeholders.In turn, the results are used in generating goals and establishing an implementation strategy for any proposed changes to the system. In addition, the current state of the commercial space launch market is surveyed to gain an understanding for the existing and planned capabilities available in the commercial sector for potential transition into the USG space launch enterprise. Questions are posited on the relevance of funding and infrastructure investment for new-entrant space launch companies as well as on how current certification processes are impacting innovation in the industry. Investment and certification methods are further explored to determine if approaches can be generated that foster new-entrant participation, innovation, and competition through establishing fairness across the industry, setting performance targets, and removing barriers to entry for new market participants.A System Dynamics model is built to represent the global space launch industry and serves as a testbed for the evaluation of current and future space launch performance. Data outputs from simulations validate the hypothesis that the current USG space launch enterprise is unable to scale capabilities to meet greater demand conditions. Simulations are also used to assess various combinations of proposed changes to the USG space launch enterprise in an effort to uncover areas for systematic improvements in key performance attributes. In order to 1) enable space superiority by offering greater resiliency and responsiveness through diversity of space launch capabilities, and 2) to stimulate industry competition, innovation, and learning by continuously refreshing the base of domestic launch providers, it is concluded and recommended that the USG adopt a series of investment, certification, and process proposals.A call for future work to experiment with the recommended approaches is made in order to validate, improve upon, and refine implementation of a Domestic Space Launch Ecosystem.
Thesis: S.M. in Engineering and Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, System Design and Management Program, 2018Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 120-125).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering and Management Program; System Design and Management Program
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Engineering and Management Program., System Design and Management Program.