EVALUATION OF THE NATIONAL AEROSPACE INITIATIVE

Committee on the National Aerospace Initiative

Air Force Science and Technology Board

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C.
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Evaluation of the National Aerospace Initiative EVALUATION OF THE NATIONAL AEROSPACE INITIATIVE Committee on the National Aerospace Initiative Air Force Science and Technology Board Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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Evaluation of the National Aerospace Initiative THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This is a report of work supported by Grant F49620-01-1-0269 between the U.S. Air Force and the National Academy of Sciences. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number 0-309-09175-6 (Book) International Standard Book Number 0-309-53107-1 (PDF) Limited copies are available from: Air Force Science and Technology Board National Research Council 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 (202) 334-3118 Additional copies are available from: The National Academies Press 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Lockbox 285 Washington, DC 20055 (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area) http://www.nap.edu Copyright 2004 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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Evaluation of the National Aerospace Initiative THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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Evaluation of the National Aerospace Initiative COMMITTEE ON THE NATIONAL AEROSPACE INITIATIVE EDSEL D. DUNFORD, Chair, TRW (retired) DONALD J. KUTYNA, Vice-Chair, Loral Space and Communications, Colorado Springs KEVIN G. BOWCUTT, The Boeing Company, Huntington Beach, California KENNETH E. EICKMANN, University of Texas at Austin WESLEY L. HARRIS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge HANS G. HORNUNG, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena KATHLEEN C. HOWELL, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana ERIC J. JUMPER, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana IRA F. KUHN, JR., Directed Technologies, Arlington, Virginia ANDREW J. MEADE, Rice University, Houston, Texas CARL J. MEADE, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Palmdale, California NEIL E. PATON, Liquidmetal Technologies, Lake Forest, California RONALD F. PAULSON, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Bethesda, Maryland FRED E. SAALFELD, National Defense University, Washington, D.C. DONNA L. SHIRLEY, University of Oklahoma, Norman PETER STAUDHAMMER, Northrop Grumman, Redondo Beach, California Air Force Science and Technology Board Liaisons ROBERT A. FUHRMAN, Lockheed Corporation (retired), Pebble Beach, California ELI RESHOTKO, Case Western Reserve University (emeritus), Cleveland, Ohio Staff JAMES C. GARCIA, Study Director LaNITA JONES, Project Assistant DANIEL E.J. TALMAGE, JR., Research Associate ANDREW WALTHER, Intern

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Evaluation of the National Aerospace Initiative AIR FORCE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BOARD ROBERT A. FUHRMAN, Chair, Lockheed Corporation (retired), Pebble Beach, California R. NOEL LONGUEMARE, Vice-Chair, Private Consultant, Ellicott City, Maryland FRANK CAPPUCCIO, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Fort Worth, Texas LYNN CONWAY, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor LAWRENCE J. DELANEY, Titan Corporation, Arlington, Virginia STEVEN D. DORFMAN, Hughes Electronics (retired), Los Angeles, California EARL H. DOWELL, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina DELORES M. ETTER, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland CHANDRA KUMAR N. PATEL, University of California at Los Angeles RICHARD R. PAUL, The Boeing Company, Seattle, Washington ROBERT F. RAGGIO, Dayton Aerospace, Inc., Dayton, Ohio ELI RESHOTKO, Case Western Reserve University (emeritus), Cleveland, Ohio LOURDES SALAMANCA-RIBA, University of Maryland, College Park EUGENE L. TATTINI, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Staff MICHAEL A. CLARKE, Director WILLIAM E. CAMPBELL, Administrative Officer CHRIS JONES, Financial Associate DEANNA P. SPARGER, Administrative Associate DANIEL E.J. TALMAGE, JR., Research Associate

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Evaluation of the National Aerospace Initiative Preface Since the end of the Cold War, the percentage of national resources devoted to aerospace has declined and graduation rates in science and engineering have declined as well. The goal of the National Aerospace Initiative (NAI), a partnership set up in 2001 between the Department of Defense (DoD) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), is to sustain U.S. leadership in aerospace in the coming decades. The initiative challenges the military services and agencies to accelerate development and demonstration milestones in selected areas to allow systems to be implemented earlier than they would otherwise have been. BACKGROUND AND SCOPE OF STUDY As the primary DoD participant in NAI, the Air Force became concerned about possible effects on its program and budget if NAI investment decisions followed a set of priorities different from those of the Air Force. For an independent assessment of the feasibility and operational relevance of NAI, the Air Force turned to the National Academies. In March 2003, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology, and Engineering requested a detailed study of NAI. The full statement of task is given in Box P-1. The study grant was awarded in mid-May 2003, after which the Committee on the National Aerospace Initiative was formed under the auspices of the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) Air Force Science and Technology Board (see Appendix A for short biographies of committee members). The first committee meeting was held in early August 2003. By agreement with the sponsor, the committee addressed two of the three NAI “pillars” (subject areas)—hypersonics and access to space—but did not attempt to comment on space technology.1 1   It was agreed that the broad scope of the third NAI pillar—space technology—and the DoD security classification of much of the pertinent related information would limit the committee’s approach. The first two NAI pillars—hypersonics and access to space—had narrower scopes and largely involved unclassified information, and recent budget proposals made these two pillars subjects of nearer-term concern.

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Evaluation of the National Aerospace Initiative Box P-1 Statement of Task To assist the Department of Defense, the services and agencies, and NASA by providing an independent evaluation of the feasibility of achieving the science and technical goals as outlined in the National Aerospace Initiative, the National Academies, under the leadership of the Air Force Science and Technology Board, will form a committee to answer the following general questions concerning the NAI: Is it technically feasible in the time frame laid out? Is it financially feasible in the same time frame? Is it operationally relevant? In developing its answers, the committee will perform the following tasks: Examine information provided by DoD and NASA that defines, in broad terms, the goals for NAI to include enabling technologies needed to support the effort and the types of capabilities enabled. Evaluate the expected output from the science and technology implied by the NAI in terms of warfighter capability requirements. Make recommendations on the relevance of implied NAI S&T solutions to meeting these requirements as compared to other possible options. Assess impact on current service efforts to meet these capability needs. Baseline the current technology readiness of these requisite technologies and provide a committee estimate of associated technology development timelines. This estimate should take into account the professional opinion on how quickly relevant technologies can be matured. Identify and make recommendations for the technologies that should be emphasized over the next five to seven years to expedite overall roadmap accomplishment. The committee should consider two budget scenarios for the development of NAI timelines; one that recognizes the current constrained Air Force budget, assuming no additional NAI funds are allocated, and one that meets the optimal NAI development timelines as developed by the committee. Provide a rough order of magnitude estimate of the difference. Provide independent recommendations on specific efforts that could advance the areas of hypersonic propulsion, access to space, and space technology to meet warfighter needs over the next 20 years. Suggest initiatives required to ensure a more robust aerospace science and engineering workforce is available to meet these needs. When the committee began this study, most committee members assumed they would be reviewing a clearly defined program with a strong management organization. In fact, the committee discovered that NAI included programs that predated the initiative and that the NAI executive office had only recently been staffed and was functioning as an advocate, facilitator, and data-sharing mechanism, with financial and management responsibility for the various programs remaining with the services and agencies. STUDY APPROACH AND CONSTRAINTS Over a 3-month period, the committee gathered data and information by meeting with persons involved in NAI planning, budgeting, and execution and by reviewing relevant reports and other documents. Appendix B lists presentations made to the committee by guest speakers.

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Evaluation of the National Aerospace Initiative Committee members met with the Director of Defense Research and Engineering (DDR&E) three times to receive information that was unclassified and cleared for public release, export-controlled information, and DoD classified information. The vice chair of the committee and the director of the Air Force Science and Technology Board, both with appropriate active security clearances, were briefed at a highly classified level. It was determined that the content of that briefing did not materially affect the findings and conclusions of this report. As requested by the Air Force, the committee’s final report is unclassified; however, it is based on the understanding the committee received from all the information presented to it. The report does not (and could not) reflect information that was not presented to the committee. During its first meeting, the committee divided itself into two main writing teams—one for hypersonics and one for access to space. Air-breathing hypersonics is an embryonic technology with considerable promise but no operational systems, while rocket-based vehicles have been operational as space launch or missile systems for 50 years. Because of the enormous difference in their operational maturity, the information presented to the committee differed substantially for the two topics. Discussion in this report of hypersonics and space access reflects these differences. In general, the committee’s approach to assessing NAI’s technical feasibility was to analyze the main technical challenges to achieving NAI technical objectives and then decide whether NAI addresses those challenges. The committee did not attempt to predict whether all the challenges would be met. There are unknowns that despite DoD’s and NASA’s best efforts might not be resolved. NAI technical goals may be achievable and would certainly be useful if they were achieved; however, no one can guarantee that executing the best possible NAI plan will result in their achievement. The committee did its best to address technical feasibility separately from financial feasibility; however, in reality, the two are intertwined. NAI technical objectives cannot be achieved without money to pay for the needed research and technology development effort. The inability to clearly determine NAI funding adversely affected the committee’s ability to assess the financial feasibility of NAI. A clear understanding of NAI funding is also needed to consider current versus optimal budget scenarios and to provide related advice on NAI planning. Estimating the investment required to develop technology is difficult under the most optimal conditions. Therefore, when even a rough estimate was beyond the scope of the study, the committee strove to evaluate what it could—namely, the relative utility of the technology area. An accurate and complete cost estimate by independent professionals who are expert in the practice should be completed as a follow-on to this study. Finally, to assess the operational relevance of NAI, the committee looked for formal user requirements documents for NAI technologies or systems using NAI technologies. However, the committee did not base its conclusions solely on existing documents but rather sought indicators that such technologies could have a substantial payoff for the various military missions. It was beyond the committee’s ability to conduct an exhaustive review and comparison of all the options and alternatives for satisfying current warfighter requirements or providing future warfighting capabilities. NASA’S NEW SPACE EXPLORATION MANDATE On January 14, 2004, President Bush publicly announced “a new plan to explore space and extend a human presence across our solar system.”2 The President’s plan called for developing and 2   President Bush Announces New Vision for Space Exploration Program. Remarks by the President on U.S. Space Policy. NASA Headquarters. Washington, D.C. Speech available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/01/20040114-3.html. Last accessed on March 25, 2004.

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Evaluation of the National Aerospace Initiative testing a new crew exploration vehicle (CEV) by 2008, human missions to the Moon as early as 2014, and, later, human missions to Mars. The President’s plan was announced after the committee had completed its study and submitted its draft report for external peer review. It was clear to the committee and peer reviewers that the new NASA mandate could affect NAI as NASA’s plans, programs, and resources shift toward new objectives. On February 9, 2004, the committee held a teleconference with Robert Shaw, Special Assistant to DDR&E, to discuss the likely outcome of the new mandate. Exactly how NAI will be affected is not yet clear; however, Mr. Shaw conjectured that some NAI schedule objectives might be significantly delayed. Technical objectives could change as well. Despite the timing of the announcement and its uncertain consequences, the committee wanted this report to be as relevant as possible. In the limited time it had available, the committee reviewed the report and made revisions that it felt were reasonable. The committee found effects on NAI’s access-to-space pillar easier to foresee than effects on its hypersonics pillar. Access to space is obviously relevant to development of the CEV and human missions to the Moon and Mars. What role hypersonics will play is not obvious at this time. The committee advises readers of this report to keep in mind the reorientation now under way at NASA and the effects that this reorientation might have on the future of NAI. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The members of the NRC study committee were highly motivated and intellectually curious and represented a wide range of academic, industrial, and military backgrounds. Because of a short schedule to cover such a complex subject, the meeting sessions were lengthy and the period of report drafting was abbreviated. In spite of this, every member of the committee willingly accepted his/her writing assignment, and many of them made site visits to organizations with programs in the subject areas. The committee thanks the many organizations and guest speakers that provided excellent support to the committee. All the speakers were impressive and presented information to the committee that had a direct bearing on the study. From the high quality of the presentations, it was obvious that the speakers and others had spent many hours preparing. For the committee, this was time well spent. We hope that the speakers, their organizations, the committee’s Air Force sponsor, and the ultimate readers of this report will agree. Finally, the committee thanks the NRC staff members who supported the study. Primary among them were Mike Clarke, Jim Garcia, LaNita Jones, Daniel Talmage, and intern Andy Walther. Edsel D. Dunford, Chair Committee on the National Aerospace Initiative

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Evaluation of the National Aerospace Initiative Acknowledgment of Reviewers This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Darrell R. Branscome, Science Applications International Corporation, Yvonne C. Brill, Consultant, Robert P. Caren, Lockheed Martin Corporation (retired), Aloysius G. Casey, U.S. Air Force (retired), Stewart E. Cranston, Veridian Engineering, Werner J.A. Dahm, University of Michigan, Delores M. Etter, U.S. Naval Academy, Alexander H. Flax, Consultant, Delma C. Freeman, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (retired), George A. Paulikas, Aerospace Corporation (retired), Todd I. Stewart, Ohio State University, and John M. Swihart, Swihart Consulting, Inc. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Robert A. Frosch (NAE), Harvard University. Appointed by the NRC, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

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Evaluation of the National Aerospace Initiative Contents     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1 1   THE NATIONAL AEROSPACE INITIATIVE   9      Introduction,   9      Goals, Planning Approach, and Funding,   10      Relevance to Operational Capability Requirements,   12      Summary of Stakeholder Views,   13      NAI and the Interrelationship of NASA and DoD Technology Requirements,   19      Current Thrusts in NAI and Summary of End User Requirements,   19      Findings and Recommendations,   20      References,   23 2   HYPERSONIC FLIGHT   24      Introduction,   24      Findings and Recommendations,   25      Hypersonic Flight Critical Technologies,   34      Air-Breathing Propulsion and Flight Demonstration,   38      Materials, Thermal Protection Systems, and Structures,   42      Integrated Vehicle Design and Multidisciplinary Optimization,   44      Integrated Ground Test and Numerical Simulation/Analysis,   47      References,   51 3   ACCESS TO SPACE   53      Current Operational Capabilities,   53      Planned Capability,   54      NASA Planning,   54      Air Force Planning,   57      Technical Feasibility in NAI Time Frame,   59

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Evaluation of the National Aerospace Initiative      Airframe,   60      Propulsion,   63      Flight Subsystems,   67      Launch Operations,   71      Mission Operations,   78      Software,   79      Technology Emphasis in the Next 5 to 7 Years,   82      Budget Scenarios,   84      Long-Term Technology and Programs,   84      Summary,   85      References,   86 4   ENABLING A MORE ROBUST AEROSPACE WORKFORCE   87      Introduction,   87      Reinvigorating the Workforce,   93      University Research, Engineering, and Technology Institutes,   94      References,   96     APPENDIXES         A   Biographical Sketches of Committee Members   99     B   Guest Speaker Presentations to the Committee   104     C   National Aerospace Initiative Hypersonics Programs and Technologies   109     D   National Aerospace Initiative Access-to-Space Programs   116     E   Fuels Research   122

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Evaluation of the National Aerospace Initiative Acronyms ACC Air Combat Command AEDC Arnold Engineering Development Center AFB Air Force Base AFMC Air Force Materiel Command AFOSR Air Force Office of Scientific Research AFRL Air Force Research Laboratory AFROC Air Force Requirements Oversight Council AF SAB Air Force Scientific Advisory Board AFSPC Air Force Space Command AIA Aerospace Industries Association AIT Atmospheric Interceptor Technology (program) AMCOM Aviation and Missile Command AMRAAM advanced medium-range air to air missile APU auxiliary power unit AQR Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology, and Engineering ARRMD affordable rapid response missile demonstrator ASC Aeronautical Systems Center ASCI Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative ASNRDA Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition ASTP Advanced Space Transportation Program ATS access-to-space BAU business as usual BMDO Ballistic Missile Defense Organization

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Evaluation of the National Aerospace Initiative C4ISR command, control, communications, computing, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance CAV common aero vehicle CC commander CDR critical design review CFD computational fluid dynamics CFUSAI Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry CMC ceramic matrix composite CoDR conceptual design review CONOPS concept of operations CONUS continental United States CRRA capability review and risk assessment CSAF Chief of Staff of the Air Force CUBRC Calspan-University of Buffalo Research Center, Inc. CV vice commander DAKOTA Design Analysis Kit for Optimization and Terascale Applications DARPA Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency DCR dual combustion ramjet DDR&E Director of Defense Research and Engineering DES discrete-eddy simulation DMF dry mass fraction DoD Department of Defense DOE Department of Energy DSB Defense Science Board DSMC-NS direct simulation Monte Carlo–Navier-Stokes EELV evolved, expendable launch vehicle ERV expendable rocket vehicle FALCON Force Application and Launch from CONUS (program) FEM finite element model FLRS future long-range strike FRSC fuel-rich staged combustion FSD full-scale development FSW friction stir welding FY fiscal year FYDP Future Years Defense Program GASL General Applied Science Laboratory GDP gross domestic product GNC guidance, navigation, and control GOTChA goals, objectives, technical challenges, and approaches GPS Global Positioning System GRC Glenn Research Center GRST Global Response Task Force GSTF Global Strike Task Force GT ground testing

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Evaluation of the National Aerospace Initiative H2 diatomic hydrogen HC hydrocarbon HCV hypersonic cruise vehicle HQ headquarters HS/H high speed/hypersonics HTHL horizontal takeoff/horizontal landing HyFly Hypersonics Flight Demonstration (program) HyTech Hypersonics Technology (program) IHPRPT integrated high-payoff rocket propulsion technology IHPTET integrated high-performance turbine engine technology IOC initial operational capability IP integrated powerhead IPD integrated powerhead demonstrator ISR intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance ISS International Space Station IVHM integrated vehicle health management JHU/APL Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory JROC Joint Requirements Oversight Council LaRC Langley Research Center LEO low Earth orbit LES large-eddy simulation LOx liquid oxygen LH2 liquid hydrogen LRS long-range strike MAJCOM major command MCH methylcyclohexane MDA Missile Defense Agency MDO multidisciplinary design optimization MIPCC mass injection precompressor cooling MIS modular insertion stage MMC metal matrix composites MNS mission needs statement MPV MIPCC-powered vehicle MSFC Marshall Space Flight Center NAI National Aerospace Initiative NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA HQ/MDepAA Office of Space Flight Deputy Associate Administrator NASA HQ/RAA Office of Aeronautics Associate Administrator NASP National Aerospace Plane NAVAIR Naval Air Systems Command NDAA National Defense Authorization Act NGLT Next-Generation Launch Technology (program) NIST National Institute of Standards and Technology NRC National Research Council

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Evaluation of the National Aerospace Initiative NRO National Reconnaissance Office OML outer mold line OMS orbital maneuvering system ONR Office of Naval Research ORDs operational requirements document ORS Operationally Responsive Spacelift ORSC oxidizer-rich staged combustion ORU orbital replacement unit OSD Office of the Secretary of Defense OSP orbital space plane OSTP Office of Science and Technology Policy OTV orbit transfer vehicle P&W Pratt & Whitney PBR President’s budget request PDR preliminary design review PGS Prompt Global Strike PLIF planar laser-induced fluorescence PRD program requirements document R&D research and development RAA regional airline association RANS Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes RASCAL Responsive Access, Small Cargo, Affordable Launch (program) RATTLRS Revolutionary Approach to Time-Critical Long-Range Strike (program) RBCC rocket-based combined cycle RCS reaction control system RDT&E research, development, test, and evaluation RFI Resource Conservation and Recovery Act facility investigation RLV reusable launch vehicle RP rocket propellant RTA Revolutionary Turbine Accelerator (program) S&E science and engineering S&T science and technology SAALT Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology SAF Secretary of the Air Force SBR space-based radar SC Space Control SDB small-diameter bomb SECAF Secretary of the Air Force SECDEF Secretary of Defense SED Single-Engine Demonstrator (program) SJ scramjet SLV small launch vehicle SMC Space and Missile Systems Center

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Evaluation of the National Aerospace Initiative SMV space maneuvering vehicle SOA state of the art SOV space operations vehicle SSC Stennis Space Center SSTO single stage to orbit STEM space, technology, engineering, and mathematics STS Space Transportation System (shuttles) TBBC turbine-based combination cycle TCT time-critical target TDRSS tracking and data relay satellite system TEO technology executive officer TJ turbojet TOA total obligational authority TPS thermal protection system TRL technology readiness level TSTO two stage to orbit URETI university research, engineering, and technology institute USAF U.S. Air Force USECAF Under Secretary of the Air Force USMC U.S. Marine Corps USSTRATCOM U.S. Strategic Command V&V validation and verification VAATE Versatile Affordable Advanced Turbine Engines (program) VLS vertical launch system VMC vehicle management computer VMS vehicle management system WMD weapons of mass destruction

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