The announcement adds to the $1.86 billion Lockheed won in 2014 to build the fifth and sixth geostationary satellites for the Air Force’s Space-Based Infrared System.
Air Force leaders didn't definitively say if they'll cut off funding, but said they're more interested in launch services than engines.
The service is looking to shore-up missile warning and GPS constellations.
The Air Force expects a replacement for the Delta 4 Heavy rocket will be ready by 2023, with one of several vehicles under development able to take its place.
Separating space operations from the Air Force would hamper the service’s efforts to address threats in orbit, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said.
DARPA program is an opportunity for the Pentagon to let industry lead experimental technology rather than try to adhere to strict requirements guidelines.
The White House has not said whether it will keep the position, and there was speculation it would be replaced with a different leadership plan.
Military could have truly low-cost launch market in five years — if government puts in the effort, experts say
Experts foresee at least four companies with low-cost reusable launch technology.
The service wants the new event to hone warfighter’s skills at operations, problem solving, and potential space conflict.
The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center faces unique challenges because it uses an extensive array of ground systems - some decades old - to communicate with individual satellites.
"There is no question that space will be a contested domain in any future conflict," Heather Wilson said.
“Everybody agrees on the long term,” said William LaPlante, former Air Force assistant secretary for acquisition. But getting to those goals is the hard part.
It's the only one currently planned for the length of the so-called Wideband AoA, though the Pentagon will hold meetings with industry leadership