Space Campaigns

A campaign is a collection of closely linked space missions that work together to achieve the campaign's overall objectives. 

Each mission in the campaign may be unique in certain instances, and the primary benefit given by past missions to future missions is the information acquired from previous missions, which may affect mission locations and verify instrumentation, flying technologies, or other mission design components.

  • In the case of robotic expeditions to Mars, this is usually the case. 
  • Prior robotic trips to Mars will be required to test new technology on Mars before they can be used by humans. 
  • The campaign, which is made up of a series of human operations, will, nevertheless, develop infrastructure and improve capabilities with each mission. 
  • The MEP, for example, envisions a series of exploratory robotic trips to Mars, each of which gives crucial information on where to go and what to search for in the next mission (s). 

The NASA lunar exploration project of approximately 7–9 years ago was an outline of a campaign, but the campaign was not clearly defined, apart from the fact that it would start with short-duration “sortie” flights and progress to the construction of a lunar “outpost” with unknown location and functions. 

  • In reality, preliminary planning failed to address several key elements of the sortie missions or improve the Lunar Surface Access Module (LSAM), with virtually all of the attention focused on the so-called Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV). 
  • NASA seems to have lost sight of the entire campaign and how the parts fit together throughout this process. 

Although ISRU for generating oxygen for ascent propulsion was a major topic for outposts, the removal of oxygen as an ascension propellant indicates that various organizations working on the lunar exploration program were not only not communicating, but were also working at cross-purposes. 

  • At the highest level, a campaign should begin with a set of objectives to be met. 
  • A collection of hypothetical missions that might form the basis of a campaign would be defined. 
  • Campaigns are collections of missions, although the order in which they are completed may be random. 

Consider the following scenario: 

  • • Each Mission has at least two potential outcomes, each with a probability associated with it. 
  • • If Event A occurs, go to Mission 2A; if Event B occurs, proceed to Mission 2B. 
  • • Each campaign may have a variety of potential results (each with a different series of missions, and differing cost, risk, and performance) 

A "tree-diagram" depicting various models for the campaign as routes across a space consisting of configurations of sequentially ordered missions may be used to illustrate alternative methods for carrying out a campaign. 

  • A lot of researchers have been looking at methods for determining the best campaign (i.e. the best sequence of missions) based on some kind of campaign merit figure. 
  • However, since this is a complicated topic, it is beyond the scope of this debate. 

The features, characteristics, and needs of the various missions that make up a campaign must be understood in order to make a smart campaign decision.

~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan 

You may also want to read more about Space Missions and Systems here.

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