Success Stories - Delivering Value

Space launch and satellite operations are a challenging “one-strike-and-you’re-out” undertaking in which assets costing $1B or more can be irretrievably lost within seconds. These challenges are even more striking given that space systems cannot be tested in flight before being put into service the way that aircraft, for example, are flight-tested before deployment. Once in orbit, a spacecraft must be operated by remote control while surviving the severe radiation environment of space for years (typically 10-15 years) without the possibility of servicing or repair. Spacecraft must also be resilient in the contested environment of space, and overcome new challenges such as cyber threats. If a satellite is lost, the nation may lose crucial capabilities in communications, intelligence, navigation (GPS), and missile warning that are essential to national security and the economy. The acquisition programs that produce these capabilities often span decades and require sustained investments of billions of dollars in taxpayer funds. Consequently, the government has mandated a high-confidence “mission assurance culture”—an investment of roughly 5% of a program’s cost—to assure that these complex space systems work the first time, and every time. The Aerospace Corporation partners with government and industry to deliver extraordinary levels of mission success under these challenging conditions. To do this, the corporation provides highly specialized engineering services that give decision-makers the foresight they need to plan and execute effective high-technology programs, – even when faced with ambitious and risky objectives and decade-long development efforts. The Aerospace Corporation provides innovative solutions and reduces risk as highlighted in the following examples.