One of the most costly components of the on-orbit operation of a spacecraft is the people that
execute the mission. Historically, for Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and the
Department of Defense Space Test Program (STP) research and development, test and evaluation
(RDT&E) space missions, a team of fifteen personnel maintains 24-hour coverage for the three-week
Launch and Early Operations (L/EO) phase of the mission and four one-week L/EO rehearsals. During the
Nominal Operations phase of the mission, 2.5 "man-days" of support are necessary each day that the
spacecraft remains on-orbit, as well as during the two, week-long, nominal operations rehearsals.
Therefore, the mission-dedicated personnel contribution to the cost of a one-year mission is more than
eleven man-years, and this does not include the personnel that actually operate the antennas at the various
remote ground facilities or develop and maintain the mission-specific or shared-use ground network,
hardware, and software. In the low-budget RDT&E world, hardware, software, or Concept of Operations
(CONOPS) developments that significantly reduce the necessary Operations personnel investment can
mean the difference between a mission that does or does not survive. This paper explores the CONOPS
and suite of tools that the TacSat-2 program has put together to achieve maximum mission effectiveness at
minimum manpower cost.