Appendix A
AN APPROACH TO SPACE INFRASTRUCTURE

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) currently operates launch facilities on the East Coast at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) for the Space Shuttle and at Wallops Island for smaller ELVs and sounding rockets. The Department of Defense (DoD) operates facilities on both the East Coast (Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, CCAFS) and the West Coast (Vandenberg Air Force Base, VAFB) for expendable launch vehicles.

Deficiencies of Current Space Launch System and Infrastructure

The entire U.S. space launch system lacks flexibility and resilience. Although the shuttle facilities are reasonably modern and adequate to support the current Shuttle manifest, they cannot support other launch vehicles. In addition, expendable launch vehicle (ELV) facilities are generally old, and many have deteriorated badly. The launch pads are dedicated to specific vehicles and, with current methods of processing vehicles and payloads, are inefficient and greatly constrain operations. The command, communications, and control (C3) infrastructure supporting the ELV program is more flexible and resilient than the launch pad portion of the infrastructure, but it is also old and inefficient. Attention must be paid to these problems and corrective measures planned, budgeted for, and implemented to provide a serviceable and efficient launch capability for the future. National needs are not well served by the current infrastructure, and the situation will continue to deteriorate unless action is taken. Specific problems are discussed below in detail.



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From Earth to Orbit: An Assessment of Transportation Options Appendix A AN APPROACH TO SPACE INFRASTRUCTURE The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) currently operates launch facilities on the East Coast at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) for the Space Shuttle and at Wallops Island for smaller ELVs and sounding rockets. The Department of Defense (DoD) operates facilities on both the East Coast (Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, CCAFS) and the West Coast (Vandenberg Air Force Base, VAFB) for expendable launch vehicles. Deficiencies of Current Space Launch System and Infrastructure The entire U.S. space launch system lacks flexibility and resilience. Although the shuttle facilities are reasonably modern and adequate to support the current Shuttle manifest, they cannot support other launch vehicles. In addition, expendable launch vehicle (ELV) facilities are generally old, and many have deteriorated badly. The launch pads are dedicated to specific vehicles and, with current methods of processing vehicles and payloads, are inefficient and greatly constrain operations. The command, communications, and control (C3) infrastructure supporting the ELV program is more flexible and resilient than the launch pad portion of the infrastructure, but it is also old and inefficient. Attention must be paid to these problems and corrective measures planned, budgeted for, and implemented to provide a serviceable and efficient launch capability for the future. National needs are not well served by the current infrastructure, and the situation will continue to deteriorate unless action is taken. Specific problems are discussed below in detail.

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From Earth to Orbit: An Assessment of Transportation Options Lack of Flexibility of the Launch System Each pad is dedicated to a single type of ELV. This greatly constrains flexibility and engenders delays and other schedule problems. It is highly inefficient in terms of both the cost and the manpower required to support total launch requirements. There is no capability for changing payloads once a payload and ELV are matched on the schedule. This occurs many months before the launch and is a particularly constraining factor. The current process and payload preparation techniques require lengthy time on the launch pad. Most payloads are completely integrated on the launch pad. None of the current ELV launch facilities has complete payload encapsulation and off-pad integration capabilities. The small number of launch pads for each type of ELV on both the East and the West Coast greatly restricts scheduling flexibility. For instance, although NASA could beneficially use Titan III-type launch vehicles, there are no launch pads generally available to support such launches because the launch pads are usually reserved for Titan IV launches. Furthermore, Titan IV launch pads are generally reserved for DoD payloads, thus greatly constraining the use of Titan IV by NASA. Lack of Resilience of the Launch System In the event of damage or other significant problems on a pad, there is extremely limited capability to effect recovery and return to schedule in an expeditious manner. In many cases, only one launch pad is available to support a launch requirement. A disaster on any of these launch pads would result in lengthy downtimes and concomitant slips in schedules. There are no satisfactory alternate launch pads available. The situation that currently exists provides no backup to accommodate high-priority DoD and national payload launches. If a launch pad is badly damaged, such high-priority payloads must await complete repair prior to launch.

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From Earth to Orbit: An Assessment of Transportation Options Scheduling Difficulties in the Launch System It is difficult to schedule commercial launches. Even if commercial users could be enticed to employ the current U.S. ELVs, there would be a large problem of pad availability. There is little capability currently available to guarantee a commercial launch on a specific schedule; thus, commercial payloads often go to foreign competitors for more suitable arrangements. Shortage of Land for Construction of Launch Facilities East Coast: Although there is more land available at CCAFS and KSC, the proximity of built-up areas south of the reservation makes much of the area unusable due to quantity and distance criteria. Also, much of the terrain is taken up by old, obsolete facilities that are in a state of decay and are incapable of supporting today's ELVs. Heavy infiltration of the launch complex with industrial buildings and facilities is also a constraining factor. West Coast: Only a very narrow strip of land at VAFB is suitable for launches into polar orbit without overflight of populated areas. Only the southern tip of the government reservation can be used for space launches. However, some of the facilities there (e.g., SLC-6) are unusable in their current state. Use of northern areas of the reservation would require launches which are highly inefficient in propulsion power and cause penalties in terms of payload capability in order to stay within certain restricted areas. Description of Recommended Infrastructure Improvements General In light of the severe shortcomings of the existing ELV infrastructure, at both the East and West Coast launch sites, the Committee recommends the construction of new universal launch complexes at each site. These complexes would then incorporate the necessary improvements to eliminate the shortcomings that now exist and would be sized to accommodate existing ELVs as well as all foreseeable new developments. Preliminary designs and costing are required to demonstrate the feasibility of the various infrastructure proposals. As previously described, the available land on both coasts no longer permits the luxury of tying launch complexes to specific ELVs. The existing ELV launch complexes should be maintained to support the current launch vehicle fleet until the new complexes come into operation. The timing of new launch complex construction should be phased to coincide with the operation of

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From Earth to Orbit: An Assessment of Transportation Options Figure 5 Proposed schedule for the development and construction of a new launch infrastructure. the National Launch System (NLS) also recommended by the committee. The various launch complex elements can be appropriately phased to avoid funding constraints and to meet the needs of the NLS elements as they come on-line. This would indicate an initial operational capability in the early 2000 time frame, with planned growth to meet future needs as requirements or funding permits. A conceptual time schedule for facilities is shown in Figure 5.

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From Earth to Orbit: An Assessment of Transportation Options Launch Complex Philosophy Enabling new launch complexes to achieve the desired goals of multivehicle use, high flight rates, reduced operational costs, improved flexibility, robustness, and resilience requires several changes in the current general operational philosophy: Integration, Transfer, and Launch (ITL): The integration, transfer, and launch (ITL) philosophy requires that all launch vehicle/payload assembly, integration, and testing be accomplished away from the launch pad. In this scenario, the assembled vehicle is delivered to the launch pad for final interface verification, main propellant loading, countdown, and launch. Thus, the time spent on the launch pad itself is minimal. If a vehicle or payload problem is discovered, the entire assembled vehicle is returned to the off-line integration facility for correction. Payload Encapsulation: Payloads must be encapsulated and integrated onto the launch vehicle off-line by using standardized fittings (attachment, power, etc.) with no payload-induced launch pad delays. Ariane successfully uses this approach to maximize launch rate capability. Multiuse Capability: To enable use by all current and future launch vehicles, the facility elements must be designed with the ability to handle the range of potential vehicle sizes that can reasonably be envisioned or to provide room to add the additional capabilities necessary as a preplanned improvement. Launch Complex Elements Though the Committee has not attempted to describe all possible elements of the new launch complexes, some of the more important elements are briefly described below: Payload Encapsulation Facility: A separate facility to permit payload encapsulation, with a minimum of two bays will be necessary. This will also provide an on-site facility for final integration as well as checkout before encapsulation for the payload contractors. Integration Facility (Vehicle Integration Building, VIB): The integration facility should have a number of separate cells, which may be modular to cover a reasonable range of vehicle sizes. Allowance should be made for additional future cells. The intent is to have a sufficient number of cells of appropriate size to ensure that this is not a restricting element in achieving more rapid turnaround.

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From Earth to Orbit: An Assessment of Transportation Options Mobile Launch Platform (MLP): The assembled launch vehicle will be transported from the integration facility to the launch pad and launched off the mobile launch platform (MLP). To minimize the number of different MLPs necessary for the variation in potential launch vehicle sizes to be handled, a modular platform that can be adjusted over a reasonable range to match vehicle configurations and with flame openings to handle the largest vehicle considered would be essential. Launch Pads: The launch pads are basically simple, with no fixed or mobile service towers (all repairs are done off line). They contain simplified interfaces and are sized for multivehicle configurations. A minimum of two launch pads for any complex is essential to ensure alternative launch capabilities in the event of launch pad damage. Supporting Facilities: A separate liquid rocket motor facility, with a minimum of two bays, will be necessary for assembling the variety of boosters, upper-stage liquid engines, and associated propulsion elements, prior to delivery to the integration facility. A similar facility is needed for handling solid and hybrid rocket elements. A Launch Control Center (LCC) is essential for any launch complex. Conceptual Launch Complex The Committee has sketched a tentative design for a conceptual launch complex at the eastern test range (ETR) and western test range (WTR) to represent the potential interaction of the elements described above. East Coast Launch Facilities: The Committee conservatively split the integration/pad elements into two size groupings, considering the large potential range of vehicle sizes and the pad separation distances dictated by the launch vehicle quantity/distance criteria (explosive hazard). Whether this split is necessary or not is unknown at this time. The launch facility groupings (Figure 6) were then assumed as follows to handle the anticipated traffic scenarios: One multi-ELV four-pad facility capable of launching vehicles with low-Earth orbit (LEO) delivery capabilities up to 20,000 pounds. One multi-ELV two-pad facility capable of launching vehicles with greater than 20,000 pounds LEO delivery capability. West Coast Facilities: A similar arrangement is shown in Figure 7, based on anticipated less-demanding traffic scenarios.

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From Earth to Orbit: An Assessment of Transportation Options Figure 6 Proposed schematic for East Coast launch facilities. Figure 7 Proposed schematic for West Coast launch facilities.