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[i]The Pentagon attributed the proposed funding decline to reduced procurement plans for satellites and launch vehicles, along with the cancellation of the Defense Weather Satellite System (DWSS), which was done at the behest of Congress. The U.S. Air Force halted work on DWSS program Jan. 17.
Noticeably absent from the 2013 request is funding for a DWSS follow-on system, for which Congress appropriated $125 million in 2012. Also absent from budget documents released Feb. 13 is a funding line for a second Space-Based Space Surveillance satellite, designed to keep tabs on activity in Earth orbit...
The biggest single line item in the Pentagon’s space budget request is the Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program, used to launch most of the Pentagon’s operational satellites. The service is requesting $1.68 billion for the program next year, a sum that covers the procurement of four new rockets and associated services and activities but does not include launches to be procured on behalf of the U.S. Navy or National Reconnaissance Office, budget documents said.
In a bid to curb its rising launch costs, the Air Force is pursuing a block buy strategy under which it intends to procure six to 10 rockets annually from contractor United Launch Alliance over a period of three to five years. That plan has been criticized by the U.S. Government Accountability Office and has detractors in Congress as well.[/i]
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