New report raises questions on DoD’s multi-orbit plan for space sensors

Aerospace: ‘The missile warning and monitoring packages will weigh closely in debates about the way forward for U.S. area techniques’

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The U.S. House Power in its 2023 finances provides billions of {dollars} for brand new constellations of missile-warning and missile-tracking satellites. However there may be but no consensus round a plan for how the Pentagon will transition from present legacy satellites to a way more distributed structure of satellites in a number of orbits, argues a new report by the Aerospace Corp.

The report, “Fiscal 12 months 2023 U.S. House Power Price range Request: Missile Warning & Monitoring Looms Giant,” was launched Sept. 20 by the Aerospace Heart for House Coverage and Technique. 

About $4.7 billion of the House Power’s $24.7 billion finances request for 2023 is for brand new missile-defense satellites that the Pentagon argues is required to detect and observe superior hypersonic missile and glide automobiles developed by Russia and China.  

“Over the following few years, the missile warning and monitoring packages will weigh closely in debates about the way forward for U.S. area techniques,” stated Sam Wilson, senior coverage analyst at Aerospace and creator of the report. 

The House Power finances projections lay out a future structure of about 135 low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites and 16 medium Earth orbit (MEO) satellites that will work in live performance via an built-in floor system. 

The 2023 finances “funds efforts throughout all orbits, with the majority of the funding being in geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO) and polar,” Wilson wrote. These embody the Subsequent-Era Overhead Persistent Infrared (Subsequent-Gen OPIR) program with 5 satellites — three in GEO and two polar satellites.

This finances “ushers in a brand new method for missile warning and missile monitoring,” stated Wilson.  Given their measurement and the variety of stakeholders reliant on these packages, he famous, Congress may increase questions on how these advanced packages are being orchestrated. 

“Though Congress appears supportive of transferring to LEO and MEO, there appears to be a scarcity of consensus on how rapidly, and in what method, DoD ought to transition to this new structure,” Wilson famous. 

Senate appropriators appear to need to speed up this transition, he identified, reducing among the funding for next-generation GEO and polar-orbiting techniques and practically doubling the funding for LEO and MEO. 

The multi-orbit method, the report stated, “may additionally be a harbinger for broader emphasis throughout the Pentagon to develop resilient and defendable architectures for different vital area missions. Such emphasis, if it materializes into dearer and bold packages, may current vital budgetary pressures that DoD might want to stability, which may set off extra scrutiny and concern from Congress.”

Deconflicting missile-defense initiatives has been a congressional precedence amid considerations that companies are creating techniques in isolation and never coordinating efforts. Final week the House Methods Command, the House Growth Company and the Missile Protection Company announced they formed a new program office to synchronize satellite tv for pc procurements.

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