Operationally Responsive Space Office

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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 2007-05-21 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 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[edit]

Peter Wegner from May 2008.


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, & 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 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 which provide information to warfighters.


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 (Nov 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 from NASA's Ames Research Center.


Planned 2017 launch of satellite tracking satellite name "SensorSat."[9]


  1. ^ a b Rupp, Sheila. "Operationally Responsive Space". USAF. Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  2. ^ "ORS: Operationally Responsive Space - Leadership". Ors.csd.disa.mil. Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  3. ^ "SpaceDev Satellite Chosen for Inaugural U.S. Defense ORS Jumpstart Mission". SpaceDev. Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  4. ^ William Graham (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. Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  6. ^ Stephen Clark (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. ^ http://ors.csd.disa.mil/media/ORS-4_Factsheet_Front_and_Back_A004.pdf
  9. ^ Stephen Clark. "Minotaur rocket selected to launch military satellite in 2017". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 2015-10-23. 

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