UPDATED: Air Force General Praises CHIRP, Hosted Payloads
COLORADO SPRINGS, NATIONAL SPACE SYMPOSIUM: After almost a decade of discussion, hope and frustration, the time appears to finally be ripe for what the space industry calls hosted payloads, the Remora fish of satellites. Keep reading →
COLORADO SPRINGS, NATIONAL SPACE SYMPOSIUM: The Boeing Company, better known for building big satellites in clean rooms and charging big prices for them, has spotted what it thinks may be a sweet spot in the satellite market and plans to build prototypes of three small satellites to show the market what it can do.
The “key” reason for building smaller satellites very quickly is to avoid being left behind by Moore’s Law, which says that computer processing power doubles every 18 months, Bruce Chesley, director for advanced space and intelligence systems at Boeing said. “It’s taking advantage of smaller cheaper components and taking advantage of Boeing’s quality control and procedures.” Keep reading →
UPDATED: Washington: Northrop Grumman knows the Defense Weather Satellite System neck is stretched out beneath the Pentagon budget cutters ax. Advocates like defense consultant Loren Thompson are rushing out to defend it. The Air Force is getting ready to kill the satellite program, which is a stepchild of the late unlamented (except by Northrop) NPOESS weather satellite program.
NPOESS, as those who have followed it know well, was one of the most dysfunctional space acquisition programs of the last decade — and since space programs were about the worst overseen by the Pentagon, that is aging something. The Pentagon formally killed NPOESS in March last year. It got split into two efforts, one led by NOAA and one by the Air Force. The NOAA effort is a $1.7 billion, two-satellite program. The other is the Defense Weather Satellite System, for which $445 million was requested for fiscal 2011 and 2012. Almost $1.1 billion was requested for the NOAA portion of the program.
A source close to the program confirmed that the Pentagon wants DWSS to be killed to pay for other bills. More significantly this may mark a fundamental decision by the U.S. military to give up the pursuit of sophisticated new weather satellites for the foreseeable future and instead rely on two satellites delivered in the mid-1980s. Those could be supplemented by newer sensors placed on other satellites to make sure the U.S. military does not lose crucial capabilities such as the ability to tell dust from clouds and to judge the firmness of soil and its ability to support heavy vehicles such as MRAPs and tanks. Keep reading →
Washington: Lists can be fun and the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments issued a doozie today, listing the dozen big programs killed by the Pentagon and their value at time of death.
“Over the past decade at least a dozen major programs were terminated without any
operational systems being fielded. The sunk cost of the terminated programs shown in
the table below, for example, totals some $46 billion in then-year dollars,” says the report by CSBA’s budget guru Todd Harrison. Keep reading →