Small satellites are fast, flexible and cheap, and they need launch services that are just as fast, just as flexible and just as cheap.
Several highly anticipated U.S. Air Force studies aimed at helping the service plan its next-generation satellite systems are taking months if not years longer than expected, much to the frustration of senior Pentagon officials.
“Our nation faces a $16 trillion debt, and it only makes sense to evaluate and recommend changes or even terminate programs if they are not strategic or fiscally sound,” writes U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (R-N.M.). “ORS, however, is a program that makes perfect sense from both the monetary and military perspective.”
The U.S. Air Force is studying the feasibility of a common ground system that would be available in the early 2020s to track and communicate with national security satellites, a move service leaders see as a way to save money, increase capability and improve responsiveness.
The U.S. Air Force plans to award Boeing a $400,000 contract to correct problems on a pair of experimental weather satellites that launched in 2013 but are not yet providing data.
Satellite ground systems historically are stove-piped systems but today’s space ground activities need solutions that are designed to provide common, affordable, modular and extensible frameworks that allow for future sustainment and decreased life-cycle costs.
The story “Lockheed Martin Examines Cost-cutting Options for SBIRS” overstates the status of in-process studies Lockheed Martin is conducting on the future of the Space Based Infrared System.
With the U.S. Air Force and NRO looking at alternative space architectures and contracting schemes, Ball Aerospace feels well-positioned to ride the shifting winds.
Industry will need an independent, public cost analysis to counter critical DoD report.
A GAO report says that distributed satellite constellations may solve some problems for the Defense Department, but would also create new difficulties.