According to R.Matthews
The successful Apollo 11 mission, which landed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon, cost billions of dollars, thousands of people, and years of planning. Nearly $25 billion and 400,000 workers moved Armstrong and Aldrin to the moon for just a few hours. Today, the personnel and budget required to launch satellites and other spacecraft into orbit have been significantly reduced, but still require a high level of technical expertise. This is where Pre-Mission Design (PMD) platforms come to the rescue. These platforms allow users to create their satellites, select launch sites, and plan their mission based on the satellite's lifespan.
For example, the company Morpheus Space wants to make planning a mission to orbit as easy as opening a laptop and selecting a font. She created a PMD system that allows anyone, military or civilian, to plan a mission to space. Enabling contractors and technicians to quickly plan and execute space missions with minimal training provides the nation with a huge tactical advantage in the evolving race for space.
Morpheus engineers are promoting their PMD Journey platform. The Journey app, in development for nearly two years, allows users to design their own space missions by choosing a launch date, solar cycle and orbital trajectory, as well as seeing the engines and other power sources that are best suited for that type of mission.
PMDs like Journey combine multiple products from multiple manufacturers to provide the user with multiple options depending on mission objectives. Each engine has its own set of drawbacks and PMDs can plan an orbital mission depending on whether the satellite needs to reach its target quickly or delay to collect as much data as possible. Mission planners can consider the entire orbital life cycle of a satellite and can adjust the satellite's orbit based on real-time changes in space.
Crucial to defense systems in this age of technology, PMDs allow mission planners to pre-program satellite maneuvers to confuse tracking systems. Additionally, monitoring a satellite as it travels becomes a much simpler task for mission planners as PMDs allow users to set ground stations at the exact time they will be able to contact the satellite. Coupled with the falling cost of space launches, PMDs and other platforms can be used to plan multiple launches at multiple locations, giving mission planners an additional level of adaptability as failures on a single launch can be factored into future missions and corrected.
Perhaps the greatest benefit that PMD systems provide is the speed with which people can be trained to use the system. Some platforms, such as Ansys STK, can be used to simulate air, sea, land, and space launches. Providing easy access to PMD for non-technical personnel helps reduce training time from months to days.
Journey's defensive capabilities are enormous. Allowing ground personnel to plan the mission and consider propulsion, communications and logistics requirements will dramatically reduce the amount of time required to place a satellite into orbit from any point on the surface of Earth. Other PMDs, such as Journey and STK, can enable mass mission planning along with mass production of space assets, saving time and money by allowing space assets to come off the production line and be immediately ready for launch.
PMD's ability to show mission planners possible orbits and the best technologies for a mission, all in an easy-to-use interface, makes it a strategic and logistically important system for the military and private sector.