Raytheon is providing a spectrum of innovative technologies to address demands in the emerging responsive space “launch-on-demand” market. Responsive space represents a shift to smaller, less expensive, demand-driven satellites that can provide networked data products. It helps the warfighter strike a balance between strategic space assets, which often take years to develop, and tactical solutions that can be turned around in months.
The development of responsive space assets, as well as their integration with existing and developing strategic space capabilities, will be a critical part of Raytheon’s focus in space.
Today, responsive space envisions providing…
- Commanders in the field with militarily useful tactical space assets under local control, complementing current systems.
- A means to quickly and inexpensively transition new technologies, systems and concepts of operation.
- A way to maintain an assured level of space capability — rapid replacement (with reduced capability) until repopulated with full-up assets.
As responsive space matures, it will enable the use of distributed networked systems composed of many small, inexpensive satellites collectively having capability as good as or better than today’s (single) large assets. These distributed systems will be highly resilient — loss of any one (or few) of the spacecraft will not seriously degrade system performance.
A collection of small satellites can provide persistent warning of anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon launches (and other threats) and be used to implement various defensive measures.
Small satellites can also be used to improve awareness of what’s happening in the vicinity of high-value space assets.
Responsive space assets form an effective deterrent — one that can be put in place rapidly and at an affordable price:
- Counters the tactical value of an ASAT through the ability to rapidly replace lost capability.
- Diminishes the strategic value of an ASAT by enabling the distribution of mission capability across multiple satellites.
Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems developed the ARTEMIS (Advanced Responsive Tactically Effective Military Imaging Spectrometer) payload for the AFRL's TacSat-3 mission, a major milestone in demonstrating the feasibility of responsive space. It was designed, built and tested in 15 months.
ARTEMIS is a space optical sensor that collects light in many different bands, some beyond the visible range of the human eye. It also has a traditional visible range camera. Such sensor development is typically more complex by several orders of magnitude and involves years of design, manufacturing and testing.
ARTEMIS is designed to directly help troops on the ground by providing:
- Damage assessment from spectral analysis of debris fields;
- Detection of disturbed earth, indicating potential IEDs, mines and underground facilities;
- Detection of camouflage and concealment.
Space and Airborne Systems is also developing a family of small, extremely lightweight radar payloads. The initial applications are for the Indian Space Research Organization’s Forerunner (Chandrayaan) and NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, both lunar radar mapping missions.
Other areas where Raytheon businesses are involved in responsive space include:
- Responsive launch, using variations of missiles Raytheon builds for the Navy and Air Force;
- Ground-based space mission planning, command and control, and data dissemination software, derived from our successful DCGS system;
- Helping to establish “Plug-and-Play” standards for responsive spacecraft and payloads.
Raytheon sees responsive space as an essential element of next-generation space mission systems. This area of the space business will grow quickly as asymmetric threats make the need for up-to-date, detailed information critical to the safety and success of our warfighters.