Satellite operators must ensure that service areas
have coverage at all times. Expendable launch vehicles have limited
capabilities to replace satellites quickly; spare satellites typically
are launched into each plane during initial constellation deployment.
The K-1's reusability and modular design will enable it to be called
up on short notice, thereby enabling satellite operators to keep
spares on the ground rather than in the sky. This replenishment
strategy will extend the life of satellites and reduce the cost
and number of satellites and required launches.
In addition to the commercial applications for this replenishment
strategy, the U.S. Government has long sought the kind of launch-on-demand
capability the K-1 will provide. Examples include quick call-up
for military satellites and cargo resupply and recovery missions
for the International Space Station.
The K-1 has a 3-day response time for repeat missions that are
ready to go at the launch site.