With accelerating operational demands and security threats, the U.S. space community is moving beyond individual systems and launches on to enterprise systems that operate across multiple domains.
From November 12 to 13, leaders representing every major U.S. space program across the enterprise gathered to address this challenge at a “Mission Assurance Summit” at the Chantilly, Virginia, offices of The Aerospace Corporation (Aerospace).
Steve Isakowitz, Aerospace President and CEO, said that what has always been called ‘mission assurance’ is no longer just about the success of an individual launch. It’s about creating resilient architectures and capabilities, while also unfailingly delivering the individual space vehicles, ground functionality, and launches that build those architectures. Steve stated he is pleased that the space community came together to focus on how the industry can jointly keep ahead of emerging threats, innovate solutions that incorporate resilience and allocate the resources needed to build a new space enterprise.
The need to create a resilient U.S. space enterprise that can work across the services dominated the discussions during the Summit, along with the related topics of production agility and addressing emerging threats to U.S. space systems.
Lt. Gen. David “DT” Thompson, Commander, Air Force Space Command, added the summit provided a much-needed chance for the national security space community to re-examine what mission assurance means. The focus of mission assurance must shift from systems to warfighters. What matters most is if the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines in the field can rely on the space capabilities they need to execute their missions. Mission assurance requires us to not only deliver capability that works in the space environment, but to deliver critical and timely capability that works under the stress of warfighting. He continued saying that the legacy paradigms of mission assurance must change — and quickly — across the space enterprise.
Derek Tournear, Director of the Space Development Agency (SDA), noted that the U.S. is moving toward a new generation of space systems that are designed for a contested environment, can serve multiple missions, and can rapidly incorporate design, technology, and capability enhancements into production. To deliver on every element of this undertaking, the U.S. will need to build interoperability and resiliency into the enterprise and make sure that the constellations and architectures work together to achieve the mission.
Participants at this event included government executive leaders from the Space Development Agency, Air Force Space Command, members of the Intelligence Community, the Missile Defense Agency, NASA, NOAA, and the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. A full agenda for the Summit can be found at this direct infolink.