A Faster Space Future Through Working With Industry

Private industry has the building blocks to dramatically reduce the cost and ramp up the pace of space launches, which could be revolutionized through a partnership with the US military, according to a joint USAF and industry research paper. Private sector companies have the “precursor and industrial capability” to reach ultra-low cost access to space within four years, although increased support is needed to build the proper infrastructure, a team of USAF and industry officials wrote in Fast Space: Leveraging Ultra-Low Cost Space Access for 21st Century Challenges. The paper, which was unveiled Monday at an AFA Mitchell Institute event on Capitol Hill, states traditional markets have not yet solved this problem. “A partnership marrying the strengths of both the US government and private industry using ‘other transactions authority’ agreements could jump start a virtuous cycle of launch cost reduction, and provide the United States with critical agility to operate in and through the increasingly contested space domain,” according to a Mitchell Forum paper accompanying the report. Reducing the cost of space launches by working with industry could dramatically change the national security launch schedule. Instead of about one launch per month, there could be up to 50 medium to heavy launches per year. (Read the report; Caution, large-sized file.)