New York Times’ Space War Story Shredded
Over at DefenseTech.org, Noah Shachtman notes that the New York Times May 18, 2005 article Air Force Seeks Bush’s Approval for Space Weapons Programs contains a number of errors and distortions, confusing Air Force wish lists with funded programs, alluding to defunct programs, and misrepresenting the development stage and/or purpose of others. Defense Tech then proceeds to address these points, one by one.
Meanwhile, Boeing Satellite Systems in Segundo, CA received a $19.5 million cost-plus fixed-fee/ completion contract. The goal is a proposal within the broad agency announcement (BAA) funding guidelines that defines requirements to provide for demonstration of “large structure deployment and control from space.”
That phrase is used in a number of contexts, from large reflector mirrors to inflatable space structures and even “solar sail” propulsion systems. While it need not necessarily apply to militarized space systems and is likely to prove important to civilian/scientific space exploration, there is a dual-use capability inherent in the goal.
Specific tasks under this contract include: continue to develop designs and program plans for an Objective System Design and Performance Analysis; design for a Flight Demonstration System (FDS) to a tailored Critical Design Review, and perform Ground Based Risk Reduction Demonstration to retire critical technology risks for the FDS. Solicitation began September 2004, negotiations were completed May 2005, and work will be complete by October 2006. The Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM issued the contract (FA9453-05-C-0165).