The Case for Disaggregated Space Architectures

Air Force Space Command on Aug. 21 issued a white paper that makes the case for incorporating disaggregated space architectures as one means of bolstering the resiliency of US space systems in the face of growing threats. “Disaggregation is an innovative opportunity to stay ahead of our adversaries, to change their targeting calculus, and to mitigate the effects of a widespread attack on our space assets,” states the document. This approach, it continues, “offers the possibility to increase technology refresh opportunities, improve requirements discipline, increase launch and space industrial base stability, increase affordability, and improve deterrence.” The white paper puts forth the following definition for space disaggregation: “The dispersion of space-based missions, functions, or sensors across multiple systems spanning one or more orbital plane, platform, host, or domain.” Disaggregation would have value whether the threat is a hostile adversary, or an environmental threat like orbital debris, states the document. The white paper also calls for planners to consider disaggregation at an enterprise level, including connecting nodes, ground systems, command and control, and launch vehicle architecture.