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Small Solid Boosters - Operationally Responsive Space

In the recent modern wars, from the Gulf War to the Afghanistan War, military satellites have played an important role and played a great auxiliary role in the rapid victory of the war by the side that owns the satellite. However, in the foreseeable future, space systems will face various challenges ranging from defending against enemy attacks to responding to rapidly changing technical and support requirements. Due to the vulnerability of the satellite itself and lack of response capabilities, it is unable to cope with future challenges. Based on the above considerations, the United States proposed a new concept of space system construction - " Operationally Responsive Space" (ORS). Its main idea is to send payloads into space accurately, quickly, and economically, so as to provide warfighters on the battlefield. Real-time space battle and tactical support.

But operationally responsive launch, whether Chinese or American may do little more than provide additional targets. Typical national security space payloads have a mass of about 1,000 kilograms, while ASAT kill vehicles are but a small fraction of this mass [precise numbers are hard to come by, but "less than 100 kilograms" or "tens of kilograms" is probably the right ballpark]. A satellite must reach orbital velocity, whereas a pop-up ASAT requires a much lower velocity, and thus a much smaller and less expensive booster. In the anti-missile business, this is known as the marginal cost exchange ratio problem, otherwise known as killing dollars with dimes. In such a cosmic skeet shoot, the skeet would probably fare a poor second.

From the perspective of the irreplaceable role of satellites in modern warfare, how to ensure the safe and stable operation of satellites in space is as important as how to improve satellite technology. In other words, if one party's anti-satellite technology is advanced, once a "space war" occurs, it will pose a great threat to the other party's satellite and communications command system. If mastering anti-satellite technology is a spear, developing space emergency vehicles is a shield. At present, major military powers in the world, such as the United States, Russia, are vigorously pursuing space militarization and speeding up the deployment of their space systems. At the same time, these countries are also aware that in future wars, by attacking and controlling various facilities of the enemy's space system to make it impossible to perform combat effectiveness will be the key to victory.

With the continuous innovation of aerospace science and technology, the dual-use space rapid launch system competition is also in full swing. The US Air Force first proposed the concept of "Space Rapid Response", which is mainly used for military emergencies. When a regional war occurs, a satellite can be quickly assembled. At the same time, the supporting rapid carrier rocket can launch it into the air in an emergency, ensuring that it will be launched It only takes a few days or weeks until the spacecraft is deployed.

Since the concept was put forward in 1999, the United States has made a lot of progress in this field, including the use of existing decommissioned or active intercontinental missiles to be converted into rapid launch systems, such as the United States’ Minotaur launch vehicle.

Russia has converted a number of intercontinental missiles that it has decommissioned or will destroy, such as SS-18 and SS-19, into carrier rockets, and has the ability to launch directly from underground silos. In addition to occupying a place in the international commercial satellite launch market, it is itself a part of the space rapid launch system. Japan's new solid carrier rocket "Epsron" was successfully launched on September 14, 2013, which is an important part of Japan's rapid space launch system. It only takes a week and the launch cost is less than 30 million U.S. dollars to complete a launch and send small satellites of different purposes to space for potential military missions.

Access to space has continually been an area of concern for a number of space agencies, both in terms of numbers of launch opportunities and costs associated with space lift. Traditional launch campaigns tend to be unique and require a significant amount of non-recurring engineering expense, sustaining a high cost structure.

In December 2001, the United States issued the "AFSPC001-01 U.S. Air Force Space Command Operational Timely Response Space Transportation Mission Requirements Statement", which laid the foundation for the future development of the "Space Rapid Response Operation" system. In the second half of 2002, the Office of Military Transformation of the US Department of Defense and the Naval Laboratory jointly launched the "Space Rapid Response Operational Experiment" (ORSE), aiming to verify the "Space Rapid Response Operational" capability from both the payload and the launch system. In March 2003, the U.S. Air Force began to carry out the "Space Rapid Response Transportation" Alternative Plan Analysis (AOA) to conduct research on launch plans such as aerospace aircraft, air-launched rockets, fully or partially reusable rockets, and disposable rockets. In 2004, the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force put forward the concept of "Joint Warfare Space" (JWS), which further deepened the idea of "Space Rapid Response Operations". In fiscal 2005, the U.S. Department of Defense put forward the "Space Rapid Response Operation" initiative. In fiscal 2006, Congress increased its R&D investment in near-space, requiring analysis of the operational effectiveness, technicality, and economics of near-space platforms. In July 2006, the Air Force also formed a new small satellite squadron of "Space Rapid Response Operations". In April 2007, the U.S. Department of Defense formally submitted the "Space Rapid Response Operations" report to Congress, expounding the overall ideas and specific implementation techniques of "Space Rapid Response Operations", marking the official beginning of the introduction of space systems into battlefield tactical applications.

The US Space Transportation Policy, issued in 2005, called for the ability to "respond to unexpected loss or degradation of selected capabilities, and/or to provide timely availability of tailored or new capabilities-to support national security requirements." The same policy establishes 2010 as a goal for demonstrating a responsive space capability: "Before 2010, the United States shall demonstrate an initial capability for operationally responsive access to and use of space to support national security requirements. In that regard, the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Director of Central Intelligence, shall: a) Develop the requirements and concept of operations for launch vehicles, infrastructure, and spacecraft to provide operationally responsive access to and use of space to support national security, including the ability to provide critical space capabilities in the event of a failure of launch or on-orbit capabilities; and b) Identify the key modifications to space launch, spacecraft, or ground operations capabilities that will be required to implement an operationally responsive space launch capability."

The military US space community was alarmed by China's antisatellite (ASAT) test of 11 January 2007. On May 21, 2007 the Deputy Secretary of Defense and Executive Agent for Space established the Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) Office as a proactive step to adapt space capabilities to changing national security requirements and to be an agent for change across the community. The Joint ORS Office is working with the broader space community to provide “assured space power focused on timely satisfaction of Joint Force Commanders’ needs.” The end state of the ORS concept is the ability to address emerging, persistent, and/or unanticipated needs through timely augmentation, reconstitution, and exploitation of space force enhancement, space control, and space support capabilities.

Preparation for the reconstitution of space capability following the failure of other satellite survivability measures could represent a solution or part of a set of solutions to the loss, or threat of loss, of space capability. ORS provides the means to reconstitute space capabilities, yet within even this limited scope, it is unclear exactly what ORS will do to perform this mission.

One element is the emergence of low-cost launch vehicles in the space lift marketplace. Relatively new entrants such as Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) with their Falcon family of vehicles, and existing companies such as Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC) with their Taurus and Minotaur product lines are making significant inroads into the cost component associated with launch vehicle production and operation. There are other companies in earlier stages of development that also may potentially add to this equation. Other developments such as the reduction of range support service costs could contribute to reducing the overall prospect of mounting a space campaign.

While maintaining a huge nuclear arsenal, the United States has stepped up the development and deployment of anti-missile systems. Based on the same logic, while the United States is developing anti-satellite weapons, it also feared that its satellites will be attacked by other countries. So the concept of the "Space Rapid Response Operation (ORS)" system was proposed, which is mainly used for military emergency response to space satellites. Therefore, whether it has the ability to "quickly launch satellites" has become one of the indicators for measuring a country's military strength in space.

In 2013, the official media in China also began to disclose similar combat systems. Imagine that in future space operations, once the enemy destroys Chinese satellites, China can quickly replenish the lost satellites through a fast-response satellite launch system and reverse the decline of the battlefield. When enemy satellites enter Chinese early warning range, they can be captured and destroyed by fast-reacting space satellites, and the enemy's space assets will quickly depreciate. What an attractive application prospect is this.

China not only mastered the technology of rapid patching of small satellites, but also developed a series of solid carrier rockets, such as Kaikai, Feitian, Kuaizhou, and Long March-11, with world-class technology. Some technologies are still ahead of the United States. The Long March 11 is comparable to the U.S. Athena-1, and they are both significantly stronger than Russia and Japan (with comparable payloads but much larger rockets). The performance indicators of the Kuaizhou-11 are no less than that of the Minotaur-4 of the United States. The latter is modified from the "Peacekeeper" intercontinental missile. It can be seen that the performance of China's intercontinental missile is equivalent to that of similar American missiles. The missile is not the bigger the better, but the rocket of the same size. Whoever can deliver a larger payload or a longer range (higher orbit) represents advanced. China has already broken through with the solid fuel with high specific impulse.

The successful launch of the "Kaizhou-1" satellite at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on 25 September 2013 aroused great attention from international public opinion. According to data, the "Kuizhou-1" weighs less than 400 kilograms and was launched by a small launch vehicle, which means that the orbital altitude of the satellite is not very high, and it may even be in the synchronous orbit of the sun. Regarding the role of Kuaizhou-1, the official explanation is that it is mainly used for emergency monitoring of various disasters and support for information such as rescue and disaster relief. The user unit of the satellite belongs to the Remote Sensing Center of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China. However, some reports believe that the "Kaizhou-1" satellite is of great military value. It can quickly provide the required tactical reconnaissance for the battlefield and quickly feed back information to the frontline combat units in the shortest time.

The Kuaizhou ["Quick Boat"] is transported and launched by a large-scale missile transport/elevator/launcher. The DF-26 is a six-axle chassis, and the Kuaizhou is a seven-axle chassis. The equipment on the vehicle is not a launch tube, but a lid that can be opened like the five-axle DF-16. It can be seen that it is not the same The DF-31 with a seven-axis chassis (with a launch tube and a flat front end) is probably because the satellite has to be tested and confirmed to be normal before launching. Therefore, during a war, the "quick response" time was shorter than that of the United States. The Chinese Kuaizhou can launch within a few hours after receiving instructions. Moreover, the Kuaizhou can run and fight everywhere. The concealment and survivability of the time are higher. There is a view that: China has become the first country in the world to form a rapid response capability in space faster than the United States.

Since 2014, the Chinese government launched a policy to encourage private-sector micro rocket development companies, diversion and technology provision of ballistic missiles that use solid propellants, and provision and rental of technology related to the infrastructure necessary for launching rockets. I went to. At the same time, many entrepreneurs have started up companies, and banks, venture capital firms, local governments, etc. have actively invested, and as a result, many companies have already been created.

Many of China’s equipment development efforts invole two or three competitions. Seeing that China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation used a solid carrier rocket to launch satellites, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation was not to be outdone. It successfully launched the 56-ton Long March-11 on 25 September 2015, launching a 350Kg satellite to a 700-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit. Judging from news pictures, the Long March-11 can also be launched by maneuver (possibly at a preset position). How can the pioneering Aerospace Science and Industry Group lag behind? Not long after, it officially announced that the "Kaizhou-11", which is larger than the Long March-11, would be launched at the end of 2016, with a total weight of 87 tons and a payload of 1 ton (700Km, SSO) or 1.5 Tons (LEO).

Chinese public papers disclosed that the cost of "Kaizhou 1" is equivalent to 6 million U.S. dollars. In the future, China can also convert the decommissioned DF-21 into a medium-sized solid carrier rocket and launch 300-450 Kg (SSO); use the decommissioned DF-31 to transform into a medium- and large-scale solid carrier rocket and launch 450 Kg (SSO, 750Km), or 1000Kg (LEO).

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