Mission Capture Rate versus Turnaround Time and Fleet Size for the Military Spaceplane

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Kokan, Timothy Salim
Olds, John R.
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The United States Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is conducting research into a military spaceplane (MSP) through the Military Spaceplane System Technology Program Office. The goal of this program is to provide the Air Force with safe, reliable, affordable, and routine access to space. An important mission performance metric of the MSP program is the mission capture rate. The mission capture rate is a measure of the MSP’s ability to meet mission sortie requirements. Extending this to a fleet of MSPs, the mission capture rate is defined as the total number of sorties the fleet is capable of divided by the total required number of sorties. This research analyzes the relationship between mission capture rate and both turnaround time and fleet size. The turnaround time is the time between when the vehicle lands and when it can take off again. During this time the vehicle is refueled, maintenance and repair work is done, and the payload is loaded. As turnaround time decreases and fleet size increases, the mission capture rate will increase. A precise definition of this relationship is made in order to determine the necessary fleet size for a given turnaround time subject to a desired mission capture rate. A Monte Carlo simulation is performed to probabilistically analyze the mission capture rates. This analysis takes into account uncertainties in the utilization requirements of the MSP fleet. These uncertainties include the number of wars within the simulation period, the starting date & duration of each war, and each war’s required sortie rate. This analysis utilizes Crystal Ball Pro® along with Microsoft Excel®. This gives the analysis technique compatibility with commonly used computer platforms.
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