Credit: NOAA

 

USAF Studies ‘Disaggregated’ Weather Satellite Concept

By Amy Butler
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

February 25, 2013
Credit: NOAA
Amy Butler Washington

Pentagon officials have espoused the lofty goal of “disaggregating” massive satellites—breaking their capabilities up into smaller but more numerous spacecraft—as a way to save millions of dollars in the costly military satellite arena.

Despite the rhetoric, they haven’t yet put their money where their mouth is. But that could be changing.

The dissolution of the joint Defense/Commerce Department weather satellite project, the National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite Systems (Npoess), combined with fiscal pressure as the government looks to reduce the national deficit, could provide the perfect backdrop for the disaggregation concept to culminate in an actual military satellite program.

After the demise of Npoess in 2010, the Pentagon and the Commerce Department agreed to part ways and develop not a single satellite capable of satisfying both of their missions, but separate purpose-built constellations for their specific needs.

Air Force officials have begun studying concepts for the defense weather satellite constellation post-Npoess. Because two legacy Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellites remain ready for launch, Air Force space officials have time on their side.

Read more: USAF Studies ‘Disaggregated’ Weather Satellite Concept — Aviation Week & Space Technology.

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