Nov 12 2014

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DARPA looking to combine payloads in single launches to GEO

This makes a lot of sense, though the rationale in the article…

Launches of satellites for the Department of Defense (DoD) or other government agencies often cost hundreds of millions of dollars each and require scheduling years in advance for one of the handful of available slots at the nation’s limited number of launch locations.

This slow, expensive process is causing a bottleneck in placing essential space assets in orbit, especially in Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) approximately 22,000 miles (36,000 kilometers) above the Earth. Launches of commercial communications satellites, on the other hand, are relatively frequent and inexpensive. Commercial launch vehicles also often have unused carrying capacity that their operators can offer to other satellite owners through “hosted payload” services. Unfortunately, no technology currently exists to enable government and military satellites to share rides and separate themselves from commercial communications satellites headed to GEO.

doesn’t make sense, ’cause adding additional lift capability isn’t going to eliminate the byzantine Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) that drive up costs and take so long to make satellites in the first place. I mean, the article blithely says that commercial satellite launches are relatively frequent and inexpensive, without exploring exactly why that is.

I’d like to see DARPA investigate a replacement to the FAR.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2014/11/12/darpa-looking-to-combine-payloads-in-single-launches-to-geo/

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