Space intelligence platforms and space exploration

PRC Starts Seeking Space Coop

By Colin Clark on Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

PRC Starts Seeking Space Coop

One of China’s top space executives is scheduled to come to the US and speak next month at the National Space Symposium, the nation’s premier space conference. The speaker will be Lei Fanpei, vice president of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. He is not the first PRC space expert to appear at the […]

US May Come Back to MEADS

By Colin Clark on Monday, March 21st, 2011

US May Come Back to MEADS

Lockheed Martin believes there is a good chance the US will recommit to the tri-nation MEADS missile defense program, driven by its smaller manpower requirements, ease of transport and higher reliability. And Germany and Italian officials told a senior Lockheed official that they remain committed to MEADS and other countries may well join the program sometime in the next two years.

Sat Pics Flowed Within Hour of Quake

By Colin Clark on Friday, March 18th, 2011

Sat Pics Flowed Within Hour of Quake

Within an hour of the great quake striking Japan, the companies that supply commercial satellite pictures to the intelligence community and the Pentagon had dropped everything and begun providing images of stricken areas. Geoey and DigitialGlobe stopped shooting images for commercial clients and “began emergency collection” of images which were then pumped in almost real time through a computing cloud and on to the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency’s special web portal set up for such purposes,

AF Space Buying Strategy Dismissed

By Colin Clark on Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

AF Space Buying Strategy Dismissed

The Air Force’s new space acquisition strategy, called Evolutionary Acquisition for Space Strategy, came under fire today from experts who said it would lead to higher costs and a less resilient industrial base.

HPSCI Vice Questions New Spy Sat

By Colin Clark on Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

HPSCI Vice Questions New Spy Sat

The United States must consider an alternative approach to buying a highly sophisticated, multi-billion eye in the sky spy satellite, the vice chairman of the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee said this morning. “I think it’s a major issue,” Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland told reporters this morning. He said he is working with DNI Jim Clapper on the best approach to providing troops and the White House with the best mix of capabilities.

Good Requirements Not Enough: OTE

By Colin Clark on Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Good Requirements Not Enough: OTE

The equipment for Son of FCS — most of it recently canceled by the Army — met the service’s requirements but did not meet the much more demanding standard of actually improving how soldiers fought, according to the Pentagon’s top operational tester.

Furloughs For Half DoD Civvies If Shutdown

By Colin Clark on Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Furloughs For Half DoD Civvies If Shutdown

UPDATED: House Passes Two Week Budget Reprieve

The Defense Department would be forced to furlough half of its civliian employees if the government were to shut down, Deputy Defense Secretary Bill Lynn told the Senate today. On top of that, Lynn said the department would be hard-pressed to pay its both its civilian and military employees in mid-March should a shutdown occur.

Space ‘Poster Child’ For Cost Increases

By Colin Clark on Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Space ‘Poster Child’ For Cost Increases

ORLANDO–Tougher contracts, less ambitious and more flexible requirements must be pursued if the Air Force and the US military are to get the space systems they need, says the head of Air Force Space Command. “We’ve become the poster child for things that are late and expensive.”

New Wireless Tech Jams GPS

By Colin Clark on Thursday, February 17th, 2011

New Wireless Tech Jams GPS

UPDATED: With LightSquared Company Comments

ORLANDO– Deputy Defense Secretary Bll Lynn has raised concerns with the Federal Communications Commission about a new technology used by a company called Light Squared that jams both military and civilian GPS signals. The Federal Aviation Administration shares the Pentagon’s worries. Air Force Gen. William Shelton, head of Air Force Space Command, disclosed the Pentagon and FAA’s concerns at the Air Force Association winter conference today.

DoD Budget: The Week Ahead

By Colin Clark on Sunday, February 13th, 2011

DoD Budget: The Week Ahead

Monday is budget day. At 2 p.m. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, will begin unveiling details of what will doubtless be one of the most contentious defense budgets since the Clinton administration. Each service and the Missile Defense Agency unveils its budget and answers reporters questions after that. […]

Carter Signals OKs for Smaller Mergers

By Colin Clark on Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Carter Signals OKs for Smaller Mergers

New York – The Pentagon’s top weapons buyer, Ash Carter, told a room full of Wall Street investors and defense industry leaders that he and his boss are likely to offer regulatory smiles to mergers involving among smaller defense companies, and, especially mid-tier service providers. This is, Carter made clear, not an event akin to the famous Last Supper, where Defense Secretary Les Aspin told the defense industry it was going to merge and that many of the 15 industry chieftains in the room that night in 1993 would not have a company to lead in the near future.

Senators Warn Clinton On Space Code

By Colin Clark on Friday, February 4th, 2011

Senators Warn Clinton On Space Code

A solid group of 37 Republican senators, led by Sen. Jon Kyl, tell Secretary of State Hillary Clinton they must be told whether the Obama administration plans to negotiate and sign on to a Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities. The Feb. 2 letter says the senators are “deeply concerned” the administration may pursue an agreement they fear poses “a multitude of potential highly damaging implications for sensitive military and intelligence programs… as well as a tremendous amount of commercial activity.”

Senate Bows To Obama on Earmarks

By Colin Clark on Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Senate Bows To Obama on Earmarks

UPDATED: “A Big Capitulation;” Watch Election Contributions

When President Obama threatened in his State of the Union speech to veto any bill containing earmarks, several people I spoke with later snickered. How is this relatively inexperienced former senator going to put the kibosh on one of the Hill’s most treasured rights. Then our world tipped slightly yesterday with word that Sen. Daniel Inouye, one of the most respected and powerful members of Congress and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced what he called an “earmark moratorium.”

Weather Sat Program Slammed

By Colin Clark on Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Weather Sat Program Slammed

The White House, Congress NASA, NOAA, Defense Department and prime contractor Northrup Grumman failed time and again in their management and oversight of the multi-billion dollar weather satellite program known as NPOESS. The failures led to billions of dollars in cost overruns, schedule delays and scarred the space acquisition community for years.

Majority Sez Cut DoD, Not Entitlements

By Colin Clark on Friday, January 21st, 2011

Majority Sez Cut DoD, Not Entitlements

A majority of the American public wants budget cuts to come from the Defense Department budget, not from Medicare or Social Security, according to a new poll. The poll asked: “If you had to choose one, which would you be willing to change in order to cut government spending.”

Wanted: Space Strategy

By John Reed on Monday, December 13th, 2010

Wanted: Space Strategy

Aimed at reducing redundancy and guiding government agency policies and investments, the Secure World Foundation’s National Space Strategy Project seeks the establishment of a space strategy taking into account the nation’s military, civilian government and commercial space needs in a way that reflects the county’s overall strategic goals, said the project’s principal investigator Eligar Sadeh during a press conference today in Washington to unveil the project.

Big Prez Export Changes Not Likely

By Colin Clark on Friday, December 10th, 2010

Big Prez Export Changes Not Likely

The aerospace and defense industries continue pushing arms export reform hard but several well-place sources within the industry say very little change is likely to happen in the next year. In the latest thrust, President Obama announced the beginnings of a yet another review of the Munitions List, which describes which weapons and parts are subject to the control of the State Department, and of the Department of Commerce’s version.

What Could X-37B Do?

By Colin Clark on Friday, December 3rd, 2010

What Could X-37B Do?

The wonderfully sort-of-secret X-37B is back on terra firma after a long stay in space. Very little information beyond its appearance, dimensions and the fact that the Air Force is deploying it is known about the vehicle, which looks a lot like a mini space shuttle. The vehicle can stay in orbit for at least nine months. Is it a sensor platform, a mobile satellite launcher, or…?

DoD Budget Strategy Shredded

By Colin Clark on Friday, December 3rd, 2010

DoD Budget Strategy Shredded

Cartwright Says Cuts Coming Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ budget strategy of deferring defense budget cuts by offering $100 billion in efficiencies looks to lie in tatters as pressure for Pentagon cuts rises to seemingly unstoppable levels. In the face of America’s fiscal strains, the nation must choose a new global strategy that better conforms to our ability to spend, three top defense experts argue. And the nation’s Nr. 2 uniformed officer says DoD is bracing for cuts.

Space Agencies Join For Savings

By Colin Clark on Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Space Agencies Join For Savings

America’s top four space agencies — NASA, the NRO, Space and Missile Systems Command and the Missile Defense Agency — are joining together to improve how they design, buy and build launchers, sensors and satellites. The memorandum of understanding — signed so far by the spy satellite builders and operators at NRO and the SMC folks — will help them share information and work together.

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