Session

Technical Session V: Getting There

SSC12-V-9_presentation.pdf (2621 kB)
Presentation Slides

Abstract

The Athena RideShare™ launch service, announced by Lockheed Martin and ATK in 2011, is a game-changing approach that lowers launch costs and provides scheduled access to space for small satellites and cubesats. The Athena RideShare launch service is an extension of a familiar concept, the Post Office’s Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes. If payload fits into the designated volume envelope and mass limit, the customer pays one low flat rate to get to space. Despite the simplicity of the model, there are significant challenges to execute this idea. Both technical and programmatic challenges have surfaced in the pursuit of setting up this service. Technical challenges include: • Integrating a variety of mass and volumes in a dynamic launch environment • Adapting the launch profile to accommodate a wide range of orbital altitudes • Verification that all payloads will not adversely impact the mission or other payloads Programmatic challenges have turned out to be the bigger issue, however. Issues include: • Confirming payloads for the manifest • Scheduling to ensure all payloads are delivered on time • Developing appropriate contracts for ride share missions With a RideShare model, low cost, reliable access to space is indeed possible; however, it is not as easy as it looks. Both technical and programmatic challenges identified can be overcome, and it is easy to see that ride share will become the standard approach for purring small payloads into space in the near-term future.

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Aug 14th, 3:25 PM

Technical and Programmatic Challenges for Dedicated Ride Share Missions

The Athena RideShare™ launch service, announced by Lockheed Martin and ATK in 2011, is a game-changing approach that lowers launch costs and provides scheduled access to space for small satellites and cubesats. The Athena RideShare launch service is an extension of a familiar concept, the Post Office’s Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes. If payload fits into the designated volume envelope and mass limit, the customer pays one low flat rate to get to space. Despite the simplicity of the model, there are significant challenges to execute this idea. Both technical and programmatic challenges have surfaced in the pursuit of setting up this service. Technical challenges include: • Integrating a variety of mass and volumes in a dynamic launch environment • Adapting the launch profile to accommodate a wide range of orbital altitudes • Verification that all payloads will not adversely impact the mission or other payloads Programmatic challenges have turned out to be the bigger issue, however. Issues include: • Confirming payloads for the manifest • Scheduling to ensure all payloads are delivered on time • Developing appropriate contracts for ride share missions With a RideShare model, low cost, reliable access to space is indeed possible; however, it is not as easy as it looks. Both technical and programmatic challenges identified can be overcome, and it is easy to see that ride share will become the standard approach for purring small payloads into space in the near-term future.