By Maj. Andrew Lingenfelter, Maj. Joshuah Hess, and Maj. Robert Bettinger

Image Courtesy of U.S. Space Force

The transition of space to a warfighting domain requires a change to current methodologies that underpin current space system survivability analysis. Publicly, survivability measures have often been sought to address specified system threats from the natural space environment, such as micrometeoroids and charged particles. However, the accelerated development of man-made counterspace threats since the early 2000s requires a change to the perception of survivability. In response to an expanding array of counterspace threats and countries capable of fielding such weapon systems, a space system survivability framework is proposed that is derived from lessons learned in the aircraft survivability domain. This framework delineates potential types of space mission defeat and serves as a foundation for advancing space mission assurance.


Since the dawn of the Space Age in the mid-20th century, reliance on space-based capabilities has permeated nearly all aspects of the U.S. Government, economy, and society. Despite the general detachment of the average citizen from the space architectures and systems that enable integral functions—such as precision navigation, timing, and communication—the continued security and sovereignty of the country is becoming irrevocably linked to the space domain. Consequently, the development of responsive, resilient, and survivable space systems in both the government and commercial sectors is needed to minimize any denial, disruption, or degradation of these capabilities. Enhancing the analysis of space system survivability, and the attendant implementation of appropriate technological measures to promote survivability, will assist in the development of tactics, strategy, and policy pivotal to advancing mission assurance within the space domain [1].

“Space is no longer a sanctuary—it is now a warfighting domain,” stated acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan at the 35th Space Symposium in 2019 [2]. The U.S. Air Force and the wider U.S. Government rely heavily on space-based capabilities in various orbital regimes as a means to ensure and protect national security and sovereignty. However, the overt development of counterspace systems by peer and near-peer countries serves to imperil U.S. space-based capabilities during times of heightened geopolitical tension and conflict, as well as times of peace.

For government- and civilian-owned spacecraft, resiliency is critical to ensure that space system architectures continue to provide the necessary capabilities “in the face of system failures, environmental challenges, or adversary actions” [3]. A subset of resiliency, survivability represents the capability of a system to avoid or withstand a hostile man-made and/or natural environment without sustaining severe degradation or total loss of mission capabilities [4].

History is replete with examples of technology exploitation to gain tactical, operational, and even strategic advantages. From telegraphs and railroads to the development of stealth technologies, history instructs the power of technology to influence national strategy and the outcome of military conflict [5–7]. The technological investment in and pursuance of U.S. space power is driven by the “ultimate high ground” proffered by space operations, as well as the need for timely, accurate data to enable a cohesive decision-making apparatus capable of executing national policy objectives on a global scale. Therefore, U.S. access to and continued reliance on the space domain are being challenged.

To counter the increasingly hostile man-made and natural space environment, the authors advocate herein for a space system survivability focus as a valuable component of U.S. space warfighting strategies derived from the contemporary aircraft survivability discipline [8]. The framework offered here is designed to promote space system resiliency, survivability, and overall mission assurance. This article comprises an outline of the similarities and differences between survivability analysis in the air and space domains followed by an analysis of how employing the framework reduces the likelihood of mission defeat.


The spectrum of counterspace threats encompasses both destructive and nondestructive effects, as well as various time scales of system degradation. On the former end of the spectrum, space systems are potentially imperiled not only by direct-ascent and orbital kinetic and directed-energy threats but also by high altitude nuclear detonation (HAND) and associated electromagnetic pulse (EMP) effects. Space system destruction and breakup will then create secondary and tertiary debris effects for remaining systems.

Approaching the latter nondestructive end, threats such as electronic jamming and spoofing are more common, with nonstate actors capable of fielding and employing such weapons. Considered nondestructive because threat engagement does not precipitate the breakup of the targeted space system, cyber-based and lower-power directed-energy weapons create potentially longer-term degradation effects for all space system components.

To help better understand and define space system survivability, consider how the aircraft design discipline defines survivability as related to mission execution. Military Handbook 336-1 divides aircraft survivability into four “defeat” categories: (1) attrition, (2) mission abort, (3) mission denial, and (4) forced landing [8]. Though these categories cannot be directly transferred to operations in space, analogous mission defeat categories can be subsequently defined.

For example, the ability to achieve space system attrition was observed during co-orbital antisatellite weapon tests conducted by the Soviet Union (from 1963 through 1982) and during direct-ascent antisatellite tests conducted by the United States (in 1985), China (in 2007), and India (in 2019) [9–12]. These tests demonstrated the viability of ground-based, air-launched, and space-based kinetic weapons not only to destroy space-based targets in low Earth orbit but also dramatically increase the amount of debris on-orbit.

However, avoiding attrition is not the only survivability consideration. The possibility exists for potential adversaries to electronically jam uplink and downlink signals; disrupt, degrade, and destroy on-board spacecraft sensors; and impel orbital maneuvers, thereby causing mission abort or temporary mission denial. From an adversary perspective, a mission abort or denial scenario may achieve the same desired effects as removing the spacecraft from orbit via a destructive counterspace kill mechanism. Thus, a space system survivability framework is necessary to assist leaders and policy-makers in the development of redundant, responsive, resilient, and survivable space systems and the corresponding doctrine and polices to manage space assets. Space system survivability can provide the necessary framework.

Image Courtesy of National Space and Intelligence Center


The proposed space system survivability framework provides an organized systematic process for understanding not only a potential counterspace engagement, but also where policies, doctrine, and systems need to be developed and applied to reduce the likelihood of mission failure. Before a survivability framework can be developed for space systems, however, an analysis of aircraft survivability’s history and applications is required to establish a conceptual foundation.

The approach to aircraft survivability during World War I and II was reactionary and primarily consisted of retrofit or modifications of existing aircraft. Poor records and written justification of these measures resulted in the failure to formally document survivability requirements and their perceived and observed benefits in the battlespace. As a result, many aircraft built during the 1950s and 1960s were not specifically designed to survive antiaircraft artillery or emerging surface-to-air and air-to-air missile systems. Many of the survivability lessons learned during prior wars were bitterly relearned during the Vietnam War due to lack of the formal codification of the aircraft survivability discipline. It was not until after the conflict in Southeast Asia that the U.S. military generated formal survivability requirements for military aircraft [13, 14].

In addition to proffering valuable historical lessons learned, aircraft survivability and the notion of a “survivability framework” can be used to prime the thought, discussion, and development on how survivability principles should be applied to the space domain. Figure 1(a) shows the sequence of events during an encounter between an aircraft and an adversary intent on disrupting the aircraft’s operation and overall mission execution. With the occurrence of each event not known with certainty, each sequence has an associated probability. These probabilities guide development decisions to reduce the probability of a system or mission defeat and increase the likelihood of mission success. Unfortunately, not all probabilities in aircraft survivability map or translate directly to the space domain. Table 1 therefore outlines suggestions for terms analogous to space systems and orbital engagements.

Figure 1(a). Aircraft System Kill Chain.

A formal translation of the aircraft system survivability analysis into the space domain is given by Figure 1(b). Similar to aircraft survivability, spacecraft survivability is a function of two time-separated phases: susceptibility and vulnerability. For susceptibility, analysis is focused on the threat system and its ability to successfully detect, be employed, intercept, and finally function as intended vis-a-vis the target space system. A spacecraft’s vulnerability is derived from and related to its ability to “survive” the threat’s intended kinetic or nonkinetic weapon effects.

Figure 1(b). Proposed Space System Kill Chain.

From the perspective of the target, this probabilistic information is largely acquired via technical intelligence and associated assessments of the threat. If a given threat successfully intercepts a target and performs its specified function, then analysis focuses on system vulnerability, or the characteristic(s) of the targeted space system that cause(s) it to suffer a definite degradation and/or mission defeat. For the operators of a given space system, knowledge of its vulnerabilities results from information attained during the development and acquisition of the system.

Within the battlespace, a foil exists when a potential adversary considers the susceptibility and vulnerability of a target space system. The prospect of successfully maximizing the susceptibility of a space system requires a potential adversary to understand the limitations and performance envelope of all aspects of the threat defeat chain. This knowledge will inform weapon employment doctrine and timelines for a potential engagement.

As for vulnerability, a potential adversary’s understanding of how to achieve mission defeat is attained through intelligence assessments of a target space system, specifically its payload(s) and bus structure. As in the air domain, a lack of sufficient knowledge concerning the capabilities and limitations of the threat and target by either the space system’s operator or potential adversary would serve to dramatically alter a given survivability analysis.

A critical difference between operations in the air and space domain is the ability to attribute a system threat to a specific location or point of origin. In the air domain, the threat usually originates from the vicinity of the general overflight location. However, this origination is not necessarily true in the space domain, and the ability to attribute a system threat is an important component to understand and determine the requisite action, or response, warranted if such a threat were to engage a U.S. space system or architecture.

Additionally, the ability to distinguish between an intentional event (threat engagement) and an unintentional event (accidental collision) is also important, for it drives vastly different responses. Overall, the collection of timely, accurate, and positive attribution information should be considered a key tenet of space domain awareness (SDA) [15]. Henceforth, attribution is not a probability as with the other components but is represented as an ongoing analysis running parallel with the engagement time.

The following discussion defines the kill chain probabilities presented in Figure 1, with the corresponding mathematical variable for each probability presented so as to maintain the continuity of nomenclature. The probability of an active threat (PA) and the probability of detection (PD) serve to initiate the engagement and are applicable in both the air and space domains. These probabilities describe the statistical likelihood that a threat is operational, as well as the ability to detect a given space system.

The detection of space objects represents a fundamental function of an adversary’s SDA capability. Also referred to as space object surveillance and identification (SOSI), this detection function serves to search, track, characterize, and catalog space objects, which ultimately enables the intended functioning of counterspace weapon systems. Without the ability to accurately determine and predict the location of space objects, weapon effectiveness drastically decreases.

The probability of launch (PL) in the air domain, or the probability an adversary will launch a threat at an aircraft, translates to the probability of usage (PU) in the space domain. A distinction between “launch” and “usage” is presented because counterspace threats can be considered as existing on a spectrum of both means of employment and effects. As a result, some threat systems do not require a physical launch, such as radio frequency (RF) jammers or directed-energy weapons [16].

It is important to note, however, that these latter threat systems are also common with the air domain, with the “probability of use” distinction important for the consideration of aircraft system survivability. Additionally, further distinction is justified due to the legal and geopolitical ramifications (or lack thereof) of engaging another country’s space assets. Development of deterrence strategies and policies is likely best applied to decrease the probability of usage of counterspace systems.

Similarly, probability of intercept (PI) requires a nuanced description when translated from the air to the space domain. Intercept in the air domain usually means a weapon has physically impacted the aircraft or maneuvered close enough to fuze, or detonate in the proximity of the aircraft. When the scope of potential threats for aircraft widens, then intercept can also include the direct physical interaction of RF jamming and directed-energy weapons with the system.

In the space domain, intercept can also span the physical and electromagnetic spectrum, to include kinetic kill vehicles (KKVs), RF jamming, and directed energy [17]. Due to the wide span of threats, PI in the space domain does not necessarily mean physical impact, but it may describe the influence of electromagnetic waves or other nonkinetic effects on the system.

Next, probability of hit (PH) translates to the probability of function (PF) in the space domain. This subtle difference results from the various possible counterspace threats and their differing functions and kill mechanisms. For example, the function of a KKV is vastly different from that of an RF jamming threat, with the resulting weapon effects requiring considerably different survivability techniques to counter the respective threats.

At the bottom of the survivability framework, the probability of kill (PK) translates to probability of mission defeat (PMD) in the space domain. The complement of mission defeat is the probability of mission success (PMS). The space system operator desires to maximize the PMS in the space domain, while the aircraft community seeks to maximize the probability of survival (PS). The contrast between PK and PMD is necessary due to the differences between the missions, system availability, and system regeneration capabilities.

Survivability in the space domain requires a mission-centric approach to describe the different types of outcomes resulting from a counterspace engagement. When analyzing the space domain, six mission defeat categories are developed to describe the potential outcomes if an adversary’s threat functions as intended.

Given in Table 2, the mission defeat categories are as follows: attrition defeat, mission abort defeat, mission denial defeat, forced maneuver defeat, all mission defeat categories in the air domain feature a direct translation to the space domain due to differences in defeat mechanisms, as well as the challenges of attribution in the latter. Nevertheless, some mission defeat categories do translate directly into space domain mission defeat categories, such as attrition and mission denial [18].

Attrition defeat occurs when a space system is physically incapable to conduct the mission with all mission capability terminated and is removed from the inventory. This type of defeat can occur in many ways, such as by kinetic engagement or by inflicting electromagnetic damage to on-board components. Mostly, the damage mechanisms causing attrition defeat are nonreversible in nature, with the space system either suffering a catastrophic breakup in the case of a kinetic intercept or irreparable damage from a directed-energy event.

For mission capability to be lost, either one of the following scenarios is possible: (1) the payload(s) suffer(s) irreparable degradation or destruction; or (2) both the payload(s) and space system bus experience irreparable degradation or destruction. Unlike the air domain, which has a mission completion component tied to attrition defeat, operations in the space domain feature considerably longer mission lifetimes; and, as a result, attrition defeat is tied to the loss of mission capability.

Mission abort defeat occurs when a decision is consciously made to terminate a mission due to the risk or threat imposed by a given counterspace weapon’s damage mechanism. The damage mechanism may present itself in the form of physical kinetic damage, electronic jamming, directed energy, or other methods. It is the risk imposed by these damage mechanisms that results in space system operators weighing the operational benefits of conducting the mission and risk sustaining system damage, aborting the mission to avoid the damage, or determine if other options are available to meet the mission objectives.

For example, a mission abort defeat can occur when a space system closes its aperture and reduces its spectral signature to avoid detection by a counterspace weapon. During this time, the space system cannot conduct its mission due to these protective measures. The space system is also at a significantly lower risk of sustaining damage resulting in a reduction in, or complete loss of, payload operation and overall mission capability.

Mission denial defeat results when space systems are tasked to conduct their mission and threat systems degrade the mission capabilities and/or functions of these systems such that the mission is unsuccessful. During mission denial, space systems can experience physical damage or electromagnetic interference, thereby either permanently or temporarily impairing payload and/or bus functionality. The distinctive difference of this defeat category compared with other categories is the conscious decision of space operators to persist in conducting mission operations despite the existence of known or unknown threats.

For example, a constellation comprising eight communications satellites is engaged by counterspace weapons. Three of these satellites suffer catastrophic damage to their space-to-ground relay antennas, while two satellites suffer degradation to their solar arrays. As a result of the engagement, the entire constellation experiences five total mission denial defeats—three with mission-terminating physical damage and two with mission-limiting damage due to the degraded ability to recharge on-board batteries.

A second form of mission denial defeat is associated with the ground-segment of a given on-orbit capability. In this defeat, an adversary targets the ability of space system operators to leverage a particular mission capability. Unlike the first form of mission denial defeat, which results from a destructive engagement, the second form is related to counterspace weapons with more reversible effects.

For example, consider a combat strike aircraft on a mission to deliver GPS-guided munitions in an urban environment. To counter the effectiveness of the air strike, the adversary uses a GPS jammer on the aircraft to prevent the munition from receiving positioning updates. Through the effective use of this form of electronic warfare, the adversary creates a situation of mission denial defeat by jamming the downlink signal.

Photo Courtesy of U.S. Air Force/SpaceX

Forced maneuver defeat occurs when a space system physically changes its attitude or spatial or orbital parameters (e.g., inclination) to avoid potential system damage or a denial of system functionality, thus resulting in a mission failure. The decision to commence a maneuver can come from human-in-the-loop ground station inputs or on-board logic programmed to avoid specified threats via autonomous operation. The system remains available for future missions following the maneuver, but analysis is required to determine the mission effectiveness at the new orbital regime, or avenues to possibly return to the original mission orbit.

Ultimately, any forced maneuvering will decrease on-board propellant and reduce both the ability for future maneuvers and the overall lifetime of the space system. For example, a forced maneuver defeat scenario may arise if a space system’s altitude is raised to avoid the engagement zone of a ground-based, direct-ascent antisatellite (ASAT) weapon. For this case, the orbit-raising action would eliminate the counterspace threat but would prevent the intended operation of a given sensor suite to support a given mission set due to the change in mission altitude.

The final system and mission defeat categories are referred to as Type 1 and Type 2 defeats. Although these categories are not unique to the space domain, the challenges associated with determining the position knowledge of space systems, as well as the attribution of any counterspace activity, require nuanced distinctions with the air domain. Due to the high speed of orbiting objects, the global sensitivity of space debris generation, and the high level of investment and mission criticality embodied by strategic space systems, reliable data and intelligence related to space system health and threat activity are pivotal to space mission assurance.

In the event of counterspace activity, there is limited potential to conduct on-orbit damage assessments. Ground operators derive such information from either on-board satellite telemetry or ground-based sensors located hundreds or even thousands of miles away from the observed space system.

Also, attribution in space does not necessarily correlate to the country or region the space system overflies at the time of the engagement due to the varied nature of counterspace weapon employment and the potential for an adversary to use globally distributed nodes for space surveillance and communication.

Foundationally, the Type 1 and Type 2 defeat categories for both the air and space domains borrow the statistical nomenclature for Type 1 and Type 2 errors [19]. As such, a Type 1 defeat—or “false positive”—occurs when a space system is believed to sustain damage from an engagement, but in truth no damage has occurred. Conversely, a Type 2 defeat—or “false negative”—occurs when a space system is believed to have no damage, but in truth damage has been sustained from an engagement.

The occurrence of Type 1 and Type 2 defeats are attributed to an adversary hindering the “Observe” and “Orient” phases of the space system operators’ Observe-Orient-Decide-Act (OODA) loop, which then reduces the operators’ ability for effectively executing the subsequent “Decision” and “Act” phases [20]. As with all domains of operation, any temporary degradation or permanent termination of situational awareness and system connectivity by an adversary during a counterspace conflict will introduce a tremendous amount of operational “fog” into the orbital battlespace.

Type 1 and Type 2 defeat are certainly not unique to the space domain. However, it is useful here to explore an example of these defeat categories to highlight how Type 1 and Type 2 manifest in the space domain, as well as to acquaint readers knowledgeable in the air domain with the potentially subtle differences between air and space combat engagements.

For example, consider a counterspace engagement in which multiple threats are employed against a specific constellation. If the adversary is degrading both the SDA and communications network during the engagement, then ground operators of the constellation will be unable to conduct timely and effective battle damage assessments. SDA assets, whether in the form of optical telescopes or radar, are key tools for visually assessing space system damage in the absence of communication connectivity or any avenue to conduct localized inspections with a third-party system. As a result, several space systems within the constellation may have avoided damage, but they are assumed to be defeated via a Type 1 “false positive.”

Using the same example, a Type 2 “false negative” defeat is shown if unaffected ground-based sensors first indicate that a portion of the constellation is visually stable and intact. Although an initially promising assessment, active adversarial jamming of communication links prevents ground operators from understanding that these “intact” space systems suffered damage and were defeated via a nondestructive counterspace system, such as a cyber-based or directed-energy weapon.

In general, the inclusion of Type 1 and Type 2 defeat categories is important to highlight the need to understand the role of SDA and communication during counterspace operations. Without the ability to attribute an event, collect damage data, and analyze failure, then the likelihood for Type 1 and Type 2 defeats remains high. A Type 1 defeat has the possibility to unintentionally escalate tensions, both geopolitically and militarily, when in fact no damage has occurred. Conversely, a Type 2 defeat would result in nominal degraded operations with no diplomatic dialogue, potentially sending unintended strategic messages.


The proposed survivability framework in Fig. 1(b) provides a process to assess and probabilistically analyze the susceptibility and vulnerability of space systems within the increasingly contested space domain. Such an assessment is helpful to determine where improvement in doctrine and systems design is needed to assure mission success. Although the application of the space system survivability framework is relatively simple in execution in a preconflict environment, it results in potential courses of action that are likely complex, dynamic, expensive, and geopolitical in nature.

Starting at the top of the framework and working down, PA is almost always a variable that is uncontrolled by the space system operator; thus, any minimization of this probability is likely connected with a reduction in geopolitical tensions. Alternatively, PD is a variable that can be controlled during the design process or minimized during the use of a space system. In the air domain, a classic PD minimization case study is the development of radar cross section reduction technology. Application of novel technologies and systems to potentially reduce space system detection can reduce the PD by hampering the ability of an adversary to conduct SDA activities to search, track, and characterize space objects.

As of 2019, four countries have demonstrated the ability to kinetically engage and destroy satellites in low Earth orbit. In addition, any country capable of conducting space launch operations has the potential to field orbital counterspace threats. Nondestructive capabilities such as electronic jamming and spoofing represent ongoing and persistent threats posed by both state and nonstate actors as part of wider terrestrial conflicts. International law and policy development are likely appropriate avenues to lower the counterpace system PU for more destructive threats, but not those that create short or immediate duration degradation effects.

Once the threat system is employed or used, systems are needed to accurately determine the threat’s type and intended target. Determining the threat’s type is critical to using the appropriate solutions to defeat the threat or minimize its damage. Additional analysis is required to anticipate the type of threat and the corresponding development of on-board and off-board equipment, tactics, or procedures to lower the probability of intercept, probability of function, and probability of mission defeat. Aircraft survivability principles of design tolerance, separation, and redundancy of critical components can reduce the probability of mission defeat. Throughout the employment, systems are needed to attribute the threat’s origin and the intent of the event.

If a counterspace weapon successfully engages, or threatens to engage, a space system, then one of the six mission defeat mechanisms (attrition defeat, mission abort defeat, mission denial defeat, forced maneuver defeat, and Type 1/Type 2 defeat) is likely. Understanding these potential defeat mechanisms is also a critical part of the framework and will assist in the development of systems to minimize the loss of a mission capability.

As with the different steps in the survivability framework, the formulation of policy/doctrine and the development of systems needed to minimize threat effects and defeat mechanisms depend on the space system and associated mission(s). Risk management is critical for space system operators to manage the possibility of counterspace engagements and determine the level of risk acceptance for the denial, degradation, or permanent loss of a space mission.

Historically, risk management for U.S. space systems has centered on the survival of satellites that tend to be large, monolithic, and technologically exquisite in design and that bear the burden of entire segments of the national space capability. Space system operators are thus inclined to be highly risk-averse due to the immense monetary investment and associated capability of these types of satellites.

However, in response to a growing need to design satellites to resist counterspace threats, adopting a new design methodology that focuses on a disaggregated architecture comprising smaller, less-capable satellites that collectively work together to perform the same task and/or mission may ultimately lessen the burden of risk management. Such a departure from the legacy satellite design paradigms grants the benefits of reducing design complexity and enhancing both the reliability and survivability of space systems within a contested environment.


Using history as a guide, it is only a matter of time before geopolitical tensions foment into a conflict extending into the space domain, thus critically testing the continued resilience and survival of U.S. space power. Accordingly, with the space domain becoming increasingly competitive, congested, and contested, the space survivability framework proposed herein has been developed to enable making decisions on where to best develop policy-, doctrine-, or system-based solutions.

As shown, this framework has been founded on the terms and concepts from the well-established aircraft survivability design discipline, while also making necessary translations and adaptations to the space domain. This new framework accounts for all aspects of general counterspace engagements, from understanding when a threat is active to the potential for space system defeat. In addition, six mission defeat categories have been formulated to understand the effects a counterspace system may impart on a targeted mission.

The authors recognize the limitations of comparative analysis between the air and space domains that has been presented herein, especially with the absence of any active military operations conducted in space. While state and nonstate actors have used, and will continue to test and use, counterspace weapons in support of terrestrial conflicts or wider strategic initiatives, such weapon usage has remained limited. Thus, the proposed survivability framework will almost certainly evolve with the occurrence of space warfare.

The intent of this framework development is to provide a means for enhancing the understanding of space system survivability required to strengthen U.S. space operations. In 1982, a National Defense University publication stated that survivability requirements need to be defined and a cohesive strategy to meet these requirements is needed [21]. Nearly 4 decades later, the proposed framework attempts to systematically assess survivability in the space domain to advise decision-makers on where and how to invest resources.

With robust doctrine, policies, systems, and strategies, the United States can keep the space domain open and accessible for all, secure the ultimate high ground, and reduce the likelihood of open combat in near Earth space. By leveraging the rich heritage of aircraft survivability education and research, space acquisition officers, engineers, and Space Force system operators can gain valuable exposure to the proven concepts of survivability, vulnerability, and susceptibility within the context of the contested space environment [22].

[Editor’s Note: The framework presented herein is part of a wider curriculum associated with the fundamentals of Space Control recently introduced as part of the graduate astronautical engineering and space systems degree programs at the Air Force Institute of Technology. Readers are encouraged to contact the authors for more information on these programs.]


Maj. Andrew Lingenfelter is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT). His research focus areas include weapons, aircraft survivability, and additive manufacturing. He also specializes in high-speed data collection, analysis, and applications to capture the necessary information to make informative engineering decisions. Maj. Lingenfelter holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a master’s degree in industrial and systems engineering from the University of Florida, and a doctorate in aeronautical engineering from AFIT.

Maj. Joshuah Hess is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering at AFIT. His research interests include orbital mechanics, satellite rendezvous and proximity operations, optimal control theory, spacecraft attitude determination, relative satellite motion, estimation theory, and heuristic optimization. He also worked as a space systems engineer at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC). Maj. Hess holds a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Virginia Tech, as well as a master’s degree and doctorate in astronautical engineering from AFIT.

Maj. Robert Bettinger is an Assistant Professor of Astronautical Engineering, the Deputy Director of the Center for Space Research and Assurance (CSRA), and the Curriculum Chair for the Astronautical Engineering degree program at AFIT. His research focus areas include atmospheric reentry dynamics and spacecraft survivability. Formerly, he was the senior military analyst for the Counterspace Analysis Squadron at NASIC and was a research engineer for spacecraft guidance and control in the Space Vehicles Directorate at the Air Force Research Laboratory. Maj. Bettinger is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in astronautical engineering from AFIT.


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