- Advocacy & Policy
- Research Center
AIA has released a new white paper in support of Operationally Responsive Space small launch vehicle acquisition and space industrial base health.
In the brief, AIA argues for ORS strategies that ensure support for the U.S. warfighter, promote competition and help strengthen the U.S. space industrial base. For years, AIA has led advocacy efforts to support the ORS effort to develop rapid and responsive space support for military operations. ORS is an important new initiative that aims to rapidly deploy spacecraft designed to assist urgent warfighter needs.
AIA also has been an outspoken advocate for maintaining U.S. defense industrial base health. AIA’s June 2009 report, The Unseen Cost: Industrial Base Consequences of Defense Strategy Choices, cited the critical role space systems play in U.S. national security. The report stressed that maintaining technological dominance requires a strong partnership between industry and government.
In order to support industrial base health and a space industry that is able to continue to supply new and innovative space transportation assets, both the 2005 U.S. Space Transportation Policy and 1998 Commercial Space Act contain language to limit U.S. overreliance on excess ballistic missiles for space transportation. Yet, since the late 1990s, the U.S. industrial base for solid rocket motor propulsion has shrunk from five manufacturers to just two and only one new U.S. entrant has emerged as a provider of space launch services.
This unique situation makes it all the more imperative that overreliance on excess missile assets be limited, and healthy competition and involvement by industry be allowed in critical ORS launch initiatives. While excess intercontinental ballistic missile assets have been used to launch ORS satellites in recent years, the U.S. should not restrict launch options for the ORS effort – especially if development of new small launch assets could provide needed support to the warfighter and the space industrial base.
ORS seeks to provide troops in isolated regions such as Afghanistan with space-based assets for intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance. In order to refine the innovative capabilities called for by the ORS initiative, it will be important to maintain healthy competition in the satellite and launch sectors.
AIA Source: mike.conschafter[at]aia-aerospace.org