DoD FY 2017 space-based systems funding highlights

WASHINGTON. Funding slated for major space-based systems totals $7.1 billion under the Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 acquisition funding request, which totals $183.9 billion.

The funding request includes base funding and Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding. The DoD’s “Program Acquisition Cost by Weapons System” booklet has $112.1 billion for procurement and $71.8 billion for Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E) of these weapon system programs. Of the $183.9 billion, $72.7 billion is for programs that have been designated as Major Defense Acquisition Programs (MDAPs) or Major Automated Information Systems MAIS. The FY 2017 program has funding for the procurement of space vehicles such as the Advanced Extremely High Frequency ()-5, AEHF-6, Space Based Infrared System () Geosynchronous Earth Orbit ()-5 and GEO-6), and continuing the Space Modernization Initiative RDT&E activities. Procurement of launch vehicles and launch services are typically funded two years prior to launch with the first two satellites of a new system purchased via RDT&E funding and the remainder purchased with procurement funding. Program highlights are below. To read the entire booklet, click here.

AEHF System

The Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) system will be a four-satellite constellation of communications satellites in geosynchronous orbit that will replenish the existing EHF system, Military Strategic Tactical Relay (), at a much higher capacity and data rate capability. AEHF-1, AEHF-2, and AEHF-3 are in orbit and operational, according to the DoD. The launch of AEHF-4 is planned for 2017 while AEHF-5 and AEHF-6 are scheduled to replace AEHF-1 and AEHF-2 at the end of their useful life. The FY 2017 program: looks to continue funding for the procurement of the space vehicles AEHF-5 and AEHF-6, and continuing selected Space Modernization Initiative (SMI) development activities which are focused on inserting new technologies to replace obsolete parts and materials and to improve capabilities. Total funding – procurement, research, and development – in the FY 2017 rises from $556 million in FY 2016 to $709 million. The prime contractor is Lockheed Martin Corp. in Sunnyvale, California.

GPS program –

The DoD’s Global Positioning System (GPS) provides worldwide, 24-hour a day, all weather 3-D position, navigation, and precise timing (PNT) information for military and civil users. The GPS III space vehicles will be fully backward compatible with legacy signals while delivering new capabilities and enhancements to include a new Galileo-compatible signal (civil), a more powerful M-code (military) signal, and the possibility to on-ramp future capabilities. The GPS Next Generation Operational Control System (OCX) will enable operational use of all modernized GPS signals, as well as enabling improved PNT performance. The FY 2017 request looks to complete GPS III Space Vehicle 01 and 02 for available launch activities, continues development of GPS OCX Blocks 1 and 2, and funds the technology development and lead platform integration of Military GPS User Equipment (MGUE) Increment 1. The FY 2017 request also funds the GPS Program Office’s responsibility as the Prime Integrator (Enterprise Integration) to synchronize space, control, and user segment programs and manage civil/military specifications and requirements. The prime Contractor for GPS III is Lockheed Martin Corp. in Denver, Colorado; for GPS OCX it is Raytheon in Aurora, Colorado; and for GPS MGUE Inc 1. Total funding – procurement, research, and development – in the FY 2017 drops slightly from $871 million in FY 2016 to $847 million. The prime contractors are L3 Interstate Electronics Corp. in Anaheim, California, Rockwell Collins International in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Raytheon in El Segundo, California.

Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS)

The Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) will field a four-satellite constellation in Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) and a two-hosted payload constellation in Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO) with an integrated centralized ground station serving all SBIRS space elements. The SBIRS is the follow-on system to the Defense Support Program (). The GEO payload has a scanning infrared (IR) sensor, which provides a higher revisit rate and more the sensitivity of DSP, and a staring IR sensor, which provides a higher fidelity and persistent coverage for areas of interest. The HEO payload consists of a single IR sensor and was delivered to the host satellite program in June 2013 and is now on orbit. The HEO-4 payload was delivered in May 2015. The GEO-5 and GEO-6 satellites are scheduled to launch as replenishment satellites for GEO-1 and GEO-2 at the end of their useful lives. The GEO-3 satellite will be delivered from storage for launch in September 2017 as SBIRS Flight 4 and the GEO-4 satellite will be moved directly from production for launch this summer as SBIRS Flight 3. The FY 2017 request looks to continue incremental funding for procurement of the space vehicles GEO-5 and GEO-6 fund ground segment development, and continue the Space Modernization Initiative development activities to reduce future production costs by improving insertion of new technologies to replace obsolete parts and materials. Total funding – procurement, research, and development – in the FY 2017 drops from $834 million in FY 2016 to $545 million. The prime contractor is Lockheed Martin Corp. in Sunnyvale, California.

Evolved (EELV)

The Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) replaced the heritage Delta, Atlas, and Titan launch vehicle families. The EELV provides to the Air Force, Navy, and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), and other government and commercial purchasers of launch services medium to heavy lift class satellites. The Air Force certified SpaceX as an EELV provider on 19 May 2015. The FY 2017 program looks to continue the block buy of EELV Launch Services (ELS); procures five Air Force launch services, three of which are set aside for competition and which are usually ordered no-later-than 24 months prior to the planned mission; and funds EELV Launch Capability (ELC) effort including mission assurance, program management, systems engineering, integration of the space vehicle with the launch vehicle, launch site and range operations, and launch infrastructure maintenance and sustainment, according to the DoD. The funding program also continues EELV launch service investment to provide two commercially-viable, domestically-sourced space launch services with the objective of eliminating reliance on a foreign-made liquid rocket engine. Total funding – procurement, research, and development – in the FY 2017 rises from $1.479 billion in FY 2016 to $1.803 billion. The prime contractors are United Launch Alliance (ULA) in Centennial, Colorado and SpaceX in Hawthorne, California.

For more FY 2017 MDAPs and MAIS coverage, click the following links:

Major aircraft systems.

Ground system platforms.

Maritime systems and shipbuilding.