Space Situational Awareness Theme at the AF S&T 2030 Forum
Hosted by The Texas A&M University System
The main goal of this theme of the forum is to explore opportunities for advancing capabilities that support the Air Force space enterprise in 2035. Specifically, this forum seeks to identify concepts that provide capabilities to increase our space situational awareness and effectiveness. These include:
- SPACE: Congested, Contested and an Expanding “high ground”
- Space Surveillance and Communications: Detectors and sensor systems. Integration of orbits, platforms, sensors and detectors–data integration, fusion, or exploitation–and how to protect them. Development of Quantum communications. Projecting for the new “high ground”.
- Space Asset Command and Control: Data Analyses and synthesis, automation, rapid response operations
- In-Space Propulsion: LEO, MEO, GEO, and the new “High Ground”. Propulsion technologies for disaggregated small sats and for large unique “high ground” orbital platforms
The discussions will seek to identify research opportunities and technology limitations that need to be addressed by the Air Force.
Some questions to consider as participants prepare are included below. These questions are meant to inform your preparations, and should not to be considered constraints. We welcome any thoughts relevant to the main goal of this forum.
Possible topics for discussion:
- What are the opportunities and constraints associated with disaggregation of assets at each orbital level?
- What is the trade space for defense dependency upon civilian cubesat/small sat data, delivery methods of the data, and timeliness of data?
- What is the feasibility for cloud data synthesis “in space”? GEO platforms?
- What are the implications for quantum communications development in contested space?
- What is the relationship between rapid response cubesat manufacturing and launch opportunities?
- Where will the space high ground be in 2030 and beyond?
- What is the trade space for propulsion? Do we need more than one strategy as the space domain grows?
- Whether small or large assets, what are the technical strategies for protecting defense assets from an exponentially growing orbital debris field? Is maneuver avoidance the first line of defense? How much lead time? Demands on propulsion system design and technologies? What is accuracy of models?
- Where are humans in the loop?
- What does “rapid response” mean for relocation of orbital assets?