Aerospace Corp. executive presents challenges of meeting military space requirements during Space Tech Conference

LONG BEACH, Calif., 2 April 2014. The second day of the Space Tech Conference in Long Beach, Calif., is opening with a military keynote panel on “Innovation, Resiliency, and Affordability – Meeting Military/DoD Space Requirements.”

NDIA urges collaboration between industry and government for aerospace missions
NDIA urges collaboration between industry and government for aerospace missions

LONG BEACH, Calif., 2 April 2014. The second day of the Space Tech Conference in Long Beach, Calif., is opening with a military keynote panel on “Innovation, Resiliency, and Affordability – Meeting Military/DoD Space Requirements.”

Taking part in the panel are:

Mike Drennan, The Aerospace Corp.

Mark Calassa, Lockheed Martin

Arnie Streland, ATK Aerospace

James Horejsi, SMC

Willard Strozier, SMC

A key challenge for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is to make space systems more resilient, or able to continue working despite challenges faced, explains Drennan. “Resiliency is a tough challenge; it requires us to design for the unknown of unknowns.”

To enable resiliency, engineers are looking at taking multifunctional capabilities on a single satellite across multiple systems—and do so affordably, Drennan adds.

Compounding the challenges, space has become congested, making in-space collisions a real challenge, Drennan admits. Fifteen nations have developed their own launchers to send un-crewed spacecraft into orbit.

Cost is another central concern. In the space business, a production run can be as little as 10 systems, Drennan notes. “It’s difficult to make such a process leaner and reduce costs. Good practices across the entire product lifecycle, however, can help to reduce costs,” he says. “How you buy is as important as what you buy. We can optimize space systems designed for launch; not using available size, weight, and power represents an opportunity lost.”

More in Military