David Hardy, associate deputy undersecretary for space at the U.S. Air Force, has described why Defense Department is not yet willing to send small satellites into operational roles at the annual Hosted Payload and Smallsat Summit, Space News reported Tuesday.
Phillip Swarts writes Hardy noted factors that affect the DoD decision include the lack of self-defense capacities such as electronic countermeasures and robust propulsion systems as well as demands placed by military operations on space capacities including weather communications, navigation, positioning and surveillance.
“We need to make sure that we’re building an overall DoD and military architecture that is both mission capable and resilient,” said Hardy.
Smallsat advocates said that the deployment of constellations of redundant small satellites, with a capacity to continue operations even with the destruction of one or two units, can help address DoD concerns on resiliency.
Al Tadros, chair of the Air Force’s Hosted Payload Alliance special contracting authority, added the contracting authority has not been fully utilized in terms of access to the commercial space industry.
Military agencies have not yet used the Hosted Payload Alliance established to help agencies pay satellite operators that will host military payloads aboard commercial satellites and only NASA has used that contract authority to design accommodations for an atmospheric sensor.