Operationally Responsive Space Office


The Operationally Responsive Space Office (ORS Office) is a joint initiative of several agencies within the United States Department of Defense (DoD). The "stand up" of the office took place 21 May 2007 at Kirtland Air Force Base.[1] The first director of the ORS Office was Col. Kevin McLaughlin, who was also dual-hatted as commander of the Space Development and Test Wing located at Kirtland. The ORS Office focuses on providing quick-response tactical space-based capabilities to the warfighter utilizing smaller satellites, such as the Tactical Satellite Program and smaller launch vehicles.

Organizations that have been involved in ORS activities to-date include the United States Space Force, United States Army, the United States Navy, DARPA, the National Reconnaissance Office, the Missile Defense Agency and NASA.[1]


Col. John Anttonen took over as Director of the ORS Office in February 2013.[2]

Previous directors

Peter Wegner was director of ORS from May 2008.[citation needed]


The Joint ORS Office is working with the broader space community to provide "assured space power focused on timely satisfaction of Joint Force Commanders' needs". The end state of the ORS concept is the ability to address emerging, persistent, and/or unanticipated needs through timely augmentation, reconstitution, and exploitation of space force enhancement, space control, and space support capabilities.

The ORS Office is implementing a rapid innovation process using a Modular Open Systems Architecture (MOSA) to facilitate rapid assembly, integration, and test (AI&T), deployment, and operations of space assets into the current space architecture in operationally relevant timelines. The ORS Office focuses on material (spacecraft, launch, range payloads) and non-material solutions (business model, acquisition, policy, industrial base, training, command and control, tasking, exploitation, processing, and dissemination, concept of operations), and collaborates with national and international agencies to leverage existing investments and develop long-term relationships.


The Joint ORS Office is taking a new approach to risk and mission assurance to rapidly deploy capabilities that are good enough to satisfy warfighter needs across the entire spectrum of operations, from peacetime through conflict.



On May 29, 2008 SpaceDev announced its Trailblazer spacecraft bus had been selected by the ORS Office as the primary payload to fly on its inaugural "Jumpstart" mission.[3] The Jumpstart payload was carried by the third Falcon 1 flight, which launched from Kwajalein in August 2008 but failed to reach orbit.


June 29, 2011 ORS-1 was launched from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island on a Minotaur rocket.[4]


TacSat-3 is the first on-orbit Department of Defense intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability delivered to U.S. Strategic Command for their direct imagery support to worldwide combatant commanders. TacSat-3 complements the wide array of Intelligence Community Combat Support Agencies and other space-based ISR systems that provide information to the United States armed forces.


TacSat-4 was launched on September 27, 2011. The Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) Office and Air Force's Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) provided the launch on a Minotaur-IV from Kodiak, Alaska.[5]


Launch on November 4, 2015 GMT (November 3, Hawaii Standard Time) of a SPARK, also called Super Strypi, rocket occurred using a new rail-guided system; this was the first launch from Hawaii.[6] Spaceflight Now received a statement from the Air Force that "The ORS-4 mission on an experimental Super Strypi launch vehicle failed in mid-flight shortly after liftoff", which matched observations of viewers on the ground.[7] 13 CubeSat spacecraft were on board; the primary payload was from the University of Hawaii,[8] two were a part of a NASA's Launch Services Program ELaNa mission, and eight were the EDSN constellation from NASA's Ames Research Center.


On 26 August 2017 the Operationally Responsive Space-5 (ORS-5) satellite was launched from Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. An Orbital ATK Minotaur IV rocket lifted SensorSat into low Earth orbit. A second Orion (rocket stage) was used to push SensorSat into equatorial orbit. Its mission is situational awareness, to scan the geosynchronous belt for any new geosynchronous satellites, as well as for space junk that may threaten existing geosynchronous satellites.[9]


  1. ^ a b Rupp, Sheila. "Operationally Responsive Space". USAF. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
  2. ^ "ORS: Operationally Responsive Space - Leadership". Ors.csd.disa.mil. Archived from the original on 2013-02-14. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
  3. ^ "SpaceDev Satellite Chosen for Inaugural U.S. Defense ORS Jumpstart Mission". SpaceDev. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
  4. ^ Graham, William (2011-06-29). "Orbital Minotaur I launches with ORS-1 following eventful count". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
  5. ^ "Public Affairs Office - U.S. Naval Research Laboratory". Nrl.navy.mil. 2011-12-12. Archived from the original on 2010-06-20. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
  6. ^ Clark, Stephen (30 October 2015). "Inaugural launch of small-class rocket on hold in Hawaii". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  7. ^ Clark, Stephen. "Air Force declares failure on Super Strypi test launch". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  8. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-12-10. Retrieved 2014-11-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ Converted Missile Launches Military Satellite to Track Spacecraft and Debris

External links

  • Official Operationally Responsive Space Office (ORS) Site
  • declared Mission Ready January 3, 2012[permanent dead link]