Military Technology 05/2021

transfer capabilities. The system can maintain the state of health for the satellites, including updating software, performing battery conditioning, and then separating the auxiliary satellites when missions require. Further, the OMV is designed to launch on NSSL [National Security Space Launch]-class launch vehicles (ATLAS V, DELTA IV, FALCON 9) while supporting up to 1,500kg of secondary payloads with a variety of standard separation systems. Atkins further emphasized the OMV can be used to disperse small satellite constellations, act as a hosted payload platform, or deliver a single spacecraft to its ideal orbit. Other Technology Thrusts As regularly reported in MilTech , the defence industry base – from test and evaluation to training and simulation and beyond – is bringing to bear virtual, augmented and mixed reality (VR, AR, MR) to strengthen its product and system life cycles. Thales Alenia Space offers a premier use case of this trend in the space industry. Valter Basso, the company’s Domain Exploration and Science Digital Transformation Point of Contact, and Head of the Unit that manages the Collaborative System Engineering (COSE) Centre, first noted that, in the last several years, while VR and AR technology and related initiatives have been actively pursued at the company, “the technology is more properly labeled with the XR [cross reality] term, which envelopes the VR, AR and MR terms.” He recalled that in the space domain, these initiatives started in the 2000s in the R&D context as serious games technology applied to some projects’ lifecycle phases/activities. “Today XR is emerging as core technology to follow-up space programmes and products, which are challenging by their nature/characteristics – for example, one-of-a- kind; often designed ‘from scratch’; late availability of the physical parts; and operating in an unusual and critical target environment, such as XGravity and cosmic radiation.” Thales Alenia Space’s experience with XR is spread across its busi- ness lines, in Italy for optical observation and exploration and science, and in France for the optical and telecommunications segment, with re- ported “bottom-up successful initiatives, from design reviews to cobot A confluence of forces is at play among the defence, intelligence, and civilian space sectors, reshaping the broader space enterprise and, in essence, upending the military space domain’s legacy-era business models. Among the several trends and developments in the enterprise, two the quest for responsive and flexible space launch capacity, and the migration of other technology enablers into pro- gramme lifecycles. Stephen Eisele, VirginOrbit’s VP of Business Development helped define rapid response capability, noting that, in part, it is the ability to deliver satellites into orbit within a 24-hour time frame. (Photo: VirginOrbit) Eyeing Flexible, Faster Launch Capacity Virgin Orbit caters to an array of com- mercial, civil and defence customers worldwide. Stephen Eisele, Virgin Orbit’s Vice President of Business Development and Strategy, specifically observed his company is engaged with numerous ministries of defence. including Britain’s Royal Air Force, the Netherlands Royal Air Force and others across Europe, Latin America, and Asia. He built the case for doing business with Virgin Orbit, noting in one instance, the company’s LauncherOne was “by far the most flexible and responsive launch sys- tem on the market, offering unique services that aren’t easily matched or available from traditional vertical launch vehicles.” More to the point, he added, “LauncherOne benefits the national security community, in partic- ular, by offering a responsive, quick call-up solution that can deliver satel- lites to orbit within a 24-hour launch window.” This is deemed critical for space domain awareness, and for when a government customer requires a quick call-up launch due to a potential threat to existing assets on-orbit, to replace and replenish critical capabilities in the event of an anomaly, or in order to further augment mission capabilities. “Government custom- ers benefit from their own dedicated launch solution, as it enables further schedule and operational control and really acts as a deterrent. If ‘bad actors’ know that targeting space infrastructure is relatively futile, since solutions exist to readily replace the satellites, then upstanding govern- ments can maintain and sustain their operational objectives and safeguard the assets in space that humanity depend on,” Eisele commented. Moog is focused on working with the newly-established US Space Force and the National Reconnaissance Office, according to Rob Atkins, Moog National Security Space Manager, who added, “We have a long history of supporting launch vehicles and defence systems in space.” A former US Air Force Lt-Col, Atkins pointed out the most promising approach to a responsive launch is to create a Line Replaceable Unit (LRU) and have that effectively sit aside in the factory waiting for call- up. “Using a propulsive ESPA [Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Secondary Payload Adapters] like Moog’s Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle (OMV) is the best approach to responsive and flexible operations,” he told MilTech . The OMV is a modular platform and has its own avionics, power, propulsion, and communications systems that are configurable for short durations up through multiyear missions, in a wide range of orbits and After a 23-year career in the US Navy, from which he retired as a Captain, Marty Kauchak regularly covers a wide range of topics for Mönch and is MilTech’s North American Bureau Chief. Marty Kauchak Space Enterprise Disruptors Moog’s SL-OMV can fulfil multiple missions, serving as a cubesat ‘tug,’ constellation deployment, technology demonstration platform, and insertion stage. (Image: Moog) Military Space MT 5/2021 · Special Supplement · 45 f