EELV Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA) ring overcoming challenges to enable responsive space
Atkins, Robert M.
Rhoades, Mark M.
Welch, William J.
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Technology advancement is a primary goal for military space development. By staying ahead of the competition, space systems can offer unique battlefield capabilities. A number of space programs are increasingly behind schedule, over budget, and underperforming. This thesis explains the benefits the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA) ring can offer programs experiencing technical immaturity or desiring responsive space. By understanding and adhering to the ESPA Rideshare Users Guide and the Auxiliary Payload Interface Control Document, programs desiring a ride aboard an ESPA-configured EELV will achieve greater success and have fewer issues in the launch vehicle-to-satellite integration process. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has published many reports offering proven process requirements that will result in increasing the odds of program success. By studying the benefits an ESPA ring offers, many processes recommended by the GAO can be implemented resulting in better cost and schedule performance. The research performed involves launch vehicles and their current state, along with a description of rideshare integration. The analytical results, along with findings of successful and struggling space programs, are then used to show how the ESPA system can advance program readiness from the laboratory to the operational environment.
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