Col. Russell Teehan, portfolio director at the Space and Missile Systems Center, said that the Force will need to establish a distributed and maneuverable architecture, with a larger focus on satellites operating in low Earth orbit because of the increased vulnerability to anti-satellite weapons.
The development and testing of various anti-satellite weapons by adversaries was the focus of several Department of Defense (DOD) reports and statements calling attention to the vulnerability of the nation’s satellites. Teehan added that he would like to see the Space Force ensure space-based capabilities can be delivered through multiple channels, so if a satellite is destroyed, warfighters can be resilient.
“I know exactly how I would go after our architectures. I’ve known for 20 years how I would go after our architectures,” said Teehan. “As the portfolio architect, I spend a lot of time on, where are we vulnerable? Where do we really not want to take a hit?”
The Space Force has focused on shifting to a distributed architecture, maneuverability and LEO constellations to encourage resiliency and maneuverability. The Space Development Agency was established in 2019 to build a new megaconstellation in low Earth orbit made up of hundreds of relatively inexpensive, replaceable satellites.
Teehan added the agency’s satellites could be used to deliver space-based capabilities, even if constellations are removed. Teehan advocated for a hybrid approach, where simpler satellites will be backed by a distributed, LEO architecture.
“Most of our strategy back at the [Space and Missile Systems] Center — we’re working with [the Space Development Agency, Missile Development Agency] and multiple others — was looking to get into higher rate productions, simpler platforms, distributed [architectures],” said Teehan.
On March 23rd, Potomac Officers Club will host its 2021 Industrial Space Defense Summit, featuring Gen. John Raymond, chief of Space Operations with the Space Force and 2020 Wash100 Award recipient, as a keynote speaker.
Raymond will address space technology, innovation and private-public partnerships that will expand federal space defense capabilities and help defeat adversaires, as space exploration and defense, space research and technology continues to expand.