Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Air Force Official Predicts Private Launches for Military Satellites - WSJ

Air Force Official Predicts Private Launches for Military Satellites - WSJ: Budget pressures increasingly are pushing Pentagon planners to consider outsourcing satellite launches, routine military communication links and even some space-based surveillance operations to industry, a senior Air Force official said Monday.

Projecting reliance on straight commercial-style purchases in coming decades, Maj. Gen. Robert McMurry told a conference here that vendors ultimately would be paid for providing specific space services to the military rather than the military underwriting development, testing and deployment of government-owned systems into orbit as it traditionally has done.

Such drastic changes will take many years, Gen. McMurry predicted in remarks to the meeting sponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. The Air Force’s No. 2 uniformed acquisition official for space sketched out a long-term trend that he described as necessary and probably inevitable.

In his remarks and answers to audience questions, Gen. McMurry appeared to go further than his superiors in embracing commercial solutions, similar to the strategy adopted by U.S. civilian space leaders to outsource cargo deliveries and astronaut transportation to the international space station.