Illustrative Examples of IDA Space Work

Norms of Behavior: Policy Analysis and Strategy

IDA is assessing space-relevant norms and behavior regimes of different countries; examining the relationship between space law [to the extent it exists and is acted on] in these countries and their approaches to these norms; considering historical lessons from other domains and emerging trends in space; and investigating options for the u.s. government to strategically shape the space-environment with norms. the lack of norms in space makes it exceedingly difficult to discriminate malicious behavior from benign, and recklessness from purposeful hindrance. they can help protect orbital national security operations and enhance space sustainability. the focus of the study is on norms that relate to on-orbit activities, particularly on-orbit inspection, servicing, rendezvous and proximity operations, assembly, and manufacturing.

Directed Energy Weapons: Science and Technology Assessments

IDA is assessing the art-of-the possible for air, ground, sea and space domain applications of directed energy weapons and other high-power applications. The analysis accounts for mission profiles and size, weight and power and thermal limitations for the broad set of potential platforms and architectures. The project is also exploring requirements based on planned platform evolution towards electrification and other advances, including commercial applications, and recommending technology leveraging opportunities. The work includes the evaluation of trade-offs in system performance for quantity of power generation and thermal management.

National Defense Space Architecture Commercial Integration: Systems and Capabilities Evaluation

IDA is developing options for using geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) products from commercial remote sensing satellites to maintain custody of terrestrial targets in support of long-range weapon engagements. These GEOINT products potentially could be used to augment current and planned remote sensing architectures. IDA is reviewing the current state of the remote sensing satellite industry, identifying suitable commercial GEOINT capabilities and products for target custody missions, and developing notional custody concepts to contextualize the use of these capabilities. Additionally, IDA is developing options for U.S. to acquire and disseminate commercial GEOINT data, and assess the policy, cost, and contracting implications of using commercial GEOINT for target custody.

Automating Targeting, Processing, Exploitation, and Dissemination: Resource and Support Analyses

IDA is identifying technologies that can be used to automate the targeting, processing, exploitation, and dissemination (TPED) cycle and to assess the development risks of system-level proof-of-concept demonstrations. The Intelligence Community is developing new approaches for automating time- and labor-intensive tasks that comprise the TPED cycle. Several factors motivate these developments including the need to increase the utilization of the collection assets by making their control more automated and faster, the need to take advantage of integrated intelligence as cues for collection, and the need to decrease the use of expensive human labor through the use of advanced technology.

U.S. / Foreign Comparative Assessments: Force Design and Operations

IDA is providing long-term comparative assessments of trends, key competitions, risks, opportunities, and future prospects of U.S. military space capability to the national security community. The most recent work focuses on understanding of the relationship between adversary space and power projection capabilities and the potential effects new capabilities would have on the long-term competition in space.

Global Trends: Space Economy and Commercial Markets

IDA is analyzing the potential implications of global technological and economic trends and their implications for national security space. The space domain is not simply an arena for military competition but also an area of significant economic and scientific value. As such, emerging trends in space technology developed with civilian uses in mind, the growing economic role of space, and trans-domain trends such as climate change will shape the operating environment for national security space operations. The national security space community would benefit from a better understanding of potential future trends effecting the space domain so that it is positioned to develop appropriate space and defense policies in order to respond to or shape these trends.


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