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Air Force Secretary Wilson fires back at SDA: Satellites in LEO can’t replace legacy systems

9 Apr 2019, 19:12 UTC
Air Force Secretary Wilson fires back at SDA: Satellites in LEO can’t replace legacy systems
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COLORADO SPRINGS — Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson on Tuesday shot back at the Space Development Agency and its director Fred Kennedy, who has laid out a plan to disrupt the military space business by bringing more commercial technology into space systems in order to speed up innovation in the face of competition from China and Russia.
The SDA was stood up only a month ago and its first project will be to design a constellation of low-cost satellites in low Earth orbit that would be adapted for military missions.
In a keynote speech at the 35th Space Symposium, Wilson forcefully challenged that vision, arguing that the military’s current constellations of satellites in higher orbits are “the best in the world” and that shifting to LEO systems would put U.S. forces at risk.
Wilson cited a 90-day “Space Strategy Study” that was recently completed by the Air Force and the intelligence community and concluded that LEO-based systems would be vulnerable during military conflicts and that DoD should not be taking that risk.
Kennedy told SpaceNews on Monday that the SDA’s approach to rely on commercial LEO constellations precisely is aimed at reducing the vulnerability of current U.S. systems. “If I ...

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