Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the small Space Rapid Capabilities Office (Space RCO) brings space capabilities to the U.S. military with speed.
Accessing space is traditionally a long process with long lead times for satellite development and manufacture, and to secure a spot on a launch vehicle. The Space RCO seeks to mitigate these times with a “short chain of command, direct connection to senior leadership and key operating principles to cultivate speed.” Space Rapid Capabilities, formerly Operationally Responsive Space (ORS), is a program to augment larger satellite programs and change how the Pentagon develops and acquires satellites. In addition, the program aims to reduce spending on satellite programs and increase space resilience.
The office’s current project studies various new technologies to expedite access to space – preferably in the year of program execution. A past project studied the potential use of solar power by forward-deployed forces.
At present, information about the Space RCO is sparse, but some inferences can be made. Reportedly, the office is working on 13 acquisition programs and bringing them to fruition faster than in the past. Fast launch capability is certainly desired, and launch providers such as Rocket Lab and Virgin Orbit may be called upon in the future.
For the Space RCO, speed is key, and its streamlined processes have likely been a game-changer.
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