The U.S. Air Force plans to release a final request for proposals in the coming weeks for modems compatible with a new protected tactical waveform that the service developed as part of a long-term strategy to bolster its ability to provide protected communications via military or commercial satellites.
SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell’s tour of Washington the week of March 16 – a luncheon speech, participation in the Satellite 2015 conference and testimony to a U.S. congressional panel – found her occasionally doing the work of the circus shovel brigade.
The Pentagon’s congressional overseers appear divided over the timetable for weaning the U.S. Air Force from the RD-180, a matter that sources say likely will not be settled until House and Senate lawmakers meet later this year to finalize the 2016 defense authorization bill.
The MDA is developing an experimental network of space-based sensors that would launch aboard commercial satellites and verify whether incoming missiles have been destroyed by defensive interceptors and no longer pose a threat.
The U.S. Defense Department could lose its current source of ocean-wind data this year, well before the planned early 2020s launch of its next-generation weather satellite, and is eyeing an interim satellite to plug the gap as early as 2018.
U.S. Defense Department officials and some House members fear a law passed by Congress last year could inadvertently create separate launch monopolies for two critical classes of national security payloads — intermediate and heavy.
Commercial representatives could sit side-by-side with U.S. Air Force personnel in the Defense Department’s Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) by the end of the year under an initiative designed to give military operators a more complete and accurate picture of the space environment.
The House Armed Services Committee chairman wants the U.S. Air Force to explain why an American-made rocket engine can not be ready by 2019 before he would consider lifting a ban on Russian-made engines.
SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell on March 16 said the company’s introduction this year of a more-powerful Falcon 9, designed to permit the company to recover the rocket’s first stage for future reuse, will not begin another long process of U.S. government certification.
Raytheon Co. expects the U.S. Air Force to award a production contract by the end of 2016 for terminals that connect senior Defense Department leaders with the country’s nuclear bomber fleet through highly protected military satellites.
For the sake of national security, the military must do a better job of leveraging commercial technology in space. That’s the theme of a growing chorus of trade press articles, exemplified well by two stories published recently.