COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Apr. 4, 2006) Today at the 22nd National Space Symposium, the Space Foundation released a white paper addressing concerns about the health of sub-prime contractors of the national security space industrial base. The release of the paper, “National Security Space Industrial Base: Understanding and Addressing Concerns at the Sub-prime Contractor Level,” coincided with Tuesday’s featured panel on acquisition.

Both the Air Force and the prime defense contractors have raised concerns about the performance and viability of the sub-prime contractors in the space industrial base. The Space Foundation examined a number of factors affecting the health of this segment of the industrial base including instability in the workflow, limited markets due to stagnation and decline of the commercial satellite and launch markets, export controls and the low profit margins that result from these factors. These challenges are evident in a number of sub-prime contractors having problems with quality and schedules. Ultimately, many are exiting the sector and in some areas there are few if any domestic suppliers of critical national security space components left operating. This process is expected to accelerate unless action is taken to reverse it.

To address these problems, the Space Foundation offered a number of recommendations. First and foremost, the Foundation recommended a comprehensive quantitative assessment of the health of this sector and the actual impact of export controls. Once a reasonable assessment is accomplished, the Foundation recommends the Air Force, as the Department of Defense’s executive agent for space, devise a management plan for the space industrial base.

“Improving the viability and performance of the lower tiers of the national security space industrial base requires, more than anything else, improving the profit margins for these businesses,” says Jay DeFrank, the Space Foundation’s director of Research and Analysis enterprise and the study’s author. “Achieving this mandates a more stable business environment, increasing overall market opportunities, reducing overhead and providing incentives,” DeFrank said.

The full report is available at

The National Space Symposium is the premier annual space industry conference and draws the most senior leaders from all sectors of the global space industry – civil, commercial, and national security. More than 7,000 registrants, guests, speakers, exhibitors, and media are expected to attend the symposium, which takes place April 3-6, 2006, at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. The symposium Web site features twice-daily summaries of the programs and sessions, a live webcam of the exhibit center, daily postings of photographs, a complete agenda, and lists of speakers, sponsors, and exhibitors. Onsite registration at The Broadmoor International Center is available for those interested in attending.

Highlights of the symposium include a spectacular opening ceremony, co-sponsored by Northrop Grumman; the opening night reception, co-sponsored by ITT; the opening night fireworks and dessert reception, co-sponsored by General Dynamics; the Corporate Partnership reception, co-sponsored by the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce; the Corporate Partnership dinner, co-sponsored by Raytheon Company; the General James E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award luncheon, co-sponsored by the Colorado Space Coalition; the Space Technology Hall of Fame reception, co-sponsored by United Space Alliance; the Space Technology Hall of Fame dinner, co-sponsored by The Boeing Company; and the largest ever Lockheed Martin Exhibit Center.

Additional co-sponsors include Analytical Graphics, Inc., ASRC Federal, ATK, BAE Systems, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Cisco Systems, Computer Sciences Corporation, CSP Associates, Inc., Florida Space Authority, Harris Corporation, Honeywell, Inmarsat, Integral Systems, MTC Technologies, The New York Times, Nortel Government Solutions, Space News, Space Systems/Loral, SpaceVest, Spherical Magic, Stellar Solutions, Sterling Computers, and Swales Aerospace.

About the Space Foundation

Founded in 1983 and headquartered in Colorado Springs, the Space Foundation is a national nonprofit organization that vigorously advances civil, commercial, and national security space endeavors and educational excellence. The Space Foundation has offices in Washington, D.C., and Cape Canaveral, Fla. In addition to the National Space Symposium, the Space Foundation annually conducts, along with its partnering organizations, Inside Aerospace, April 24-25, 2006; Strategic Space and Defense, 10-12 Oct. 2006, in Omaha, Neb.; and Florida Space, Dec. 5-7, 2006, in Orlando, Fla. For more information, visit