From the Editors

Crosslink_cover_Spring2013_Thumbnail

Book icon First published May 2013, Crosslink® magazine

The Aerospace Corporation has begun a concerted effort to highlight its capabilities in the “front end” of the space system development lifecycle. This involves assisting the U.S. military, intelligence, and civil space community in defining the next generation of space systems. It follows a decade of a focus on the back end of the process—supporting the production, integration, testing, launch, and early operations of a new generation of Department of Defense (DOD) space systems.

Today, the space industry is facing extensive cost cutting and budget uncertainty to existing and new space system programs. This is occurring in an environment of advancing technologies, evolving threats, and growing customer demands for new capabilities. Finding a balance between the realities of funding and meeting the needs and expectations of customers has become essential.

This issue of Crosslink reveals some of the current efforts at Aerospace related to work on the front end of space system development. The company has an established track record of performing work on the front end, ranging from program initiation, to technology and software assessment, to supporting source selection.

One such area of highlight includes work on developing and analyzing space system concepts, designs, and architectures to help customers make decisions that are intended to save money down the road. The goal is to enable efficient program execution downstream by implementing an organized and structured system engineering process put into place today as a part of the development planning and decision support processes.

The company has renewed its focus on early architectures and acquisition planning, some of which is highlighted in this issue of Crosslink. Aerospace conducts architecture trade studies to assess options and solutions to meet its customers’ mission needs while taking into account various uncertainties such as cost, schedule, technology, and integration risk.

One article explores the definition of user needs as the DOD initiates a drive toward closer cooperation between the user requirements and acquisition communities (“Defining Military Space Capability Requirements for Successful Development”). Critical technology selection; parts, materials, and processes engineering; and efforts toward ensuring manufacturing and industry base readiness are also reviewed.

World events and space policy developments have an effect on front-end space system considerations. Decisions made during the early stages of program development have a significant impact on determining system cost and reliability, and these topics are explored too.

Aerospace will continue its mission to assist its customers, evolving as their needs do, and responding accordingly to ensure space mission success. Here, we present some of the many facets of front-end work Aerospace is performing as the company turns its focus toward the future within a cost-constrained environment.

Back to the Spring 2013 Table of Contents