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SN Military.Space Sandra Erwin

Of the $14.1 billion space request for 2020, about $11.9 billion is for investments — which the Pentagon defines as a combination of RDT&E (research, development, testing and engineering) and procurement. In budget documents, the Pentagon shows about half of the investments going to satellites ($6.1 billion), and the remainder for launch ($1.7 billion) and a broad category of space support programs ($4.1 billion).

The Air Force share of DoD space investments is $10.3 billion.

Within the satellites portfolio, $1.7 billion is for one GPS 3 satellite, the GPS 3 ground system and user terminals. There is $1.6 billion to continue the development of a constellation of five next-generation missile warning satellites known as next-gen Overhead Persistent Infrared, or OPIR — $1.4 billion for RDT&E and about $200 million for procurement. The request s almost double what Congress enacted for fiscal year 2019 for next-gen OPIR — $703 million for RDT&E and $108 million for procurement.

The budget seeks $1.1 billion for satellite communications. That includes a mix of programs: Protected Tactical Satcom, Evolved Strategic Satcom, the recapitalization of the Enhanced Polar System, and funds for on-orbit testing of Advanced EHF communications satellite AEHF-5 and production oversight of AEHF-6.

There is $1.7 billion in the budget for four launches under the National Security Space Launch program (formerly known as Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle). That is a reduction from $2.1 billion for five launches that Congress enacted for fiscal year 2019.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...