Intel community willing to allow higher resolution commercial imagery

For the last few years, commercial satellite remote sensing company DigitalGlobe (and, before its merger with DigitalGlobe, GeoEye) has been lobbying the government to allow it to sell sharper satellite imagery that it’s currently allowed. DigitalGlobe is currently restricted to selling imagery with resolution no sharper than 0.5 meters per pixel, but has been pushing [...]

Pentagon confirms study into reliance on RD-180 engine underway

As the Obama Administration levied new sanctions on Russia Thursday for that nation’s actions in the ongoing Ukraine crisis, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed that the Air Force was studying its reliance on the Russian-manufactured RD-180 rocket engine used by the Atlas V.

At a news briefing Thursday, Defense Department spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said [...]

Mixed messages on the future of ORS

The Defense Department’s Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) program has been on thin ice for some time: the Air Force has in the past attempted to kill funding for the ORS Office, arguing that the experience the office has built up developing low-cost, responsive space systems can be utilized by other Air Force organizations. And that’s [...]

Hagel: Defense Department plans “review” of dependence on RD-180

The Defense Department will perform some kind of review of the dependence of the US on the Russian-manufactured RD-180 engine, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told a House committee on Thursday.

Late in a hearing by the defense subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee on the Defense Department’s proposed fiscal year 2015 budget, Rep. Robert [...]

Russian tensions add a sharper edge to EELV hearing

Wednesday’s hearing by the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee on “National Security Space Launch Programs” unfolded, as many expected, as a debate between United Launch Alliance (ULA) and SpaceX. ULA defended its work as the only company currently in the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program, noting its commitment to mission success and its efforts [...]

Senate appropriators to hear from SpaceX and ULA on military space launch issues

The Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee (SAC-D) has scheduled a hearing next week on “National Security Space Launch Programs” featuring the top executives of two key companies. The hearing, scheduled for 10 am Wednesday, March 5, will include as witnesses United Launch Alliance (ULA) CEO Michael Gass and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, along with Christina [...]

How other space-related items fared in the FY14 spending bill

While NASA did relatively well in the omnibus spending bill, at least at the overall spending level, some other space-related programs did not fare as well. Space News reports some key military space programs got less than what they requested for fiscal year 2014. The Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program received $1.5 billion, $367 [...]

Defense authorization bill preserves ORS Office, examines space security issues

Late last night the Senate passed the fiscal year 2014 defense authorization bill, after the House approved the final compromise version of the bill last week. The giant bill covers a wide range of Department of Defense (DOD) policy issues, including some related to space.

One major military space policy issue included in the bill [...]

Senator asks for another study on use of Russian engines

A few months ago, Russian media reported that the Russian government was considering a ban on the exports of the RD-180 engine, a Russian-built engine that propels the first stage of the Atlas V rocket. There’s no evidence that this proposed ban has gone anywhere, and officials with United Launch Alliance (ULA), which builds the [...]

Former astronaut set to retire from Air Force after nomination blocked in Senate

Lt. Gen. Susan Helms, a former NASA astronaut who returned to the Air Force after leaving the space agency, is expected to retire after the administration withdrew her nomination Thursday to become the next vice commander of Air Force Space Command (AFSPC). Although there had been no formal announcement, an online catalog of presidential nominations [...]