Military funding for space programs has cloud of uncertainty

By John McHale
WASHINGTON, 14 May 2011. Designers of radiation-hardened electronics for space programs say the U.S. military market has a degree of uncertainty as the impact of impending cuts to the Department of Defense budget are still up in the air. Meanwhile they see strong opportunities in commercial satellites especially in Europe, while in the U.S. NASA's budget continues to shrink.
"There are still questions as to what will get funded when the Department of Defense (DOD) budget is finally approved by Congress," says Anthony Jordan at Aeroflex Colorado Springs in Colorado Springs, Colo. Jordan says he and his colleagues are wondering what will be left for satellites after the cuts are made. "Will the DOD have to trade-off intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities between satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)? Will congress fund the block buys per EASE in fiscal year 2012 or will single satellite appropriations continue. Overall funding seemed to have slowed with some programs not getting started and with others frozen at 2010 levels."

"The trend is less new design activities, but we're seeing orders for more copies of existing hardware designs," says Vic Scuderi, manager of satellite electronics for BAE Systems in Manassas, Va. "While this keeps our factory going, we as an industry are at risk that we may see less new technologies being fielded as development efforts are not funded due to budget considerations. A secondary concern is that our industry could be losing some of our talented engineers without new development programs being funded."
"With the current U.S. federal administration calling for defense budget cuts of $100 billion, programs will be cancelled, scaled down, or delayed," says Odile Ronat, discrete marketing manager at International Rectifier in El Segundo, Calif.
The budget has yet to be approved and currently the "military space market is strong as there is a lot of volume in classified programs," says John Bendekovic, director of aerospace and defense sales at Xilinx in San Jose, Calif. The majority of cuts that have been discussed regarding the U.S. DOD budget have not yet affected these programs."
The rad-hard market is a growth market, says Jim Salzman, director of technology and radiation effects at Texas Instruments' high reliability business unit in Dallas. "We've seen substantial growth over the last five years, especially as industry awareness of our rad-hard products has grown."
The military space market is trending up, says Doug Patterson, vice president of the military and aerospace business sector at Aitech in Chatsworth, Calif. 
"From a very high level vantage point, the rad-hard requirement has always been there but, because in the past silicon feature sizes on integrated circuits were comparatively large, gates took more energy to switch states, and RAM wasn't as dense, ICs therefore were inherently more rad-hard to single event effects (SEEs) for example," Patterson explains. "So now, with the advent of sub micron silicon process, and extreme density RAM, we will notice more and more that ICs will tend to not be as rad-hard as their predecessors, which means designing and mitigating radiation effects in the future will be more of a challenge, and hence trending up."
While the immediate future regarding U.S. defense funding may be unclear the civil and commercial space markets in the U.S. and Europe have a little more certainty -- both positive and negative.
"Domestically the space market for ASICs is somewhat stagnant especially with NASA's budget being cut," says Peter Milliken, director of semicustom products at Aeroflex Colorado Springs. However, "internationally things are going amazingly well with Europe booming due to the Iridium Next program.  
"Europe is making investments and is heavily engaging the rad-hard component community," Milliken continues.
Commercialized manned spaceflight is still in its infancy, but rad-hard companies are starting to see some activity in this area.
"Our computers and components are already on board some of these commercial space flight programs," BAE Systems' Scuderi says. "These programs continue to walk a fine line between lower costs and ever increasing requirements for rad-hard performance of their vehicles. While mission life is measured in minutes, risks continue to be at an all time high with humans riding atop a vehicle that must provide, for example, protection against single event upsets. To address this market, we have addressed cost challenges while finding ways to maintain the customer support."




Get All the Military Aerospace Electronics News Delivered to Your Inbox or Your Mailbox

Subscribe to Military Aerospace Electronics Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest information on:


  • C4ISR
  • Cyber Security
  • Embedded Computing
  • Unmanned Vehicles

Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Related Products

Printed Circuit Board Assembly

Printed Circuit Board Assembly (PCB ASSY) is as critical a process as circuit board manufacturing.

Flexible Printed Circuit Board

Flexible Printed Circuit Boards are one of the most popular types of circuit boards used in a var...

Rigid Printed Circuit Boards

Rigid printed circuit boards can only meet diverse industrial applications if the best materials ...

XPand6020 | Small Form Factor (SFF) System Featuring XPedite5205 Running Cisco IOS® and XPedite7450

The XPand6020 is a Small Form Factor (SFF) system that features an XPedite5205, which runs Cisco ...

Micro Borescope Ultra Thin

German made, it is the best choice for extremely small inspection areas, with diameters as small ...

XPedite5500 | Freescale P2020 QorIQ Conduction- or Air-Cooled PrPMC/XMC Module

The XPedite5500 is an XMC/PrPMC mezzanine module targeting the Freescale QorIQ P2020 processor. W...

XPand6000 Series | Rugged Small Form Factor Intel® Core™ i7 or Freescale QorIQ-Based System with PMC or XMC Support

XPand6000 Series systems are based on convection-cooled and conduction-cooled, fully-ruggedized S...

XCalibur4444 | Intel® Core™ i7 Processor-Based Conduction-Cooled 6U VPX Module

The XCalibur4444 is a high-performance, multiprocessing, 6U VPX, single board computer that is id...

XPand6200 Series | Small Form Factor (SFF) Sub-½ ATR Rugged COTS System utilizing 3U VPX, XMC, and PMC Modules

The XPand6200 Series is a true Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) Rugged system, supporting many 3U ...

XCalibur4401 | Intel® Core™ i7 Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 6U CompactPCI Single Board Computer

The XCalibur4401 is a high-performance, 6U CompactPCI, multiprocessing, single board computer tha...

Related Companies

Uniforce Sales and Engineering

Provides solutions to machine vision and image acquisition in many applications, including in the fields of medical, ...

A-FLEX

Provides customized Printed Circuit Board fabrication in California. The entire process can be customized according t...

TASC Technical & Assembly Services Corporation Electronic Equipment Manufacturing

Electronic Manufacturing sub-contractor. Circuit Board assembly, Cable Assembly, Wire Harness Assembly, Box Build Ass...

DDC-I Inc

Offers complete solutions for embedded software developers with a focus on mission- and safety-critical applications....

DiCon Fiberoptics Inc

Offers fiber optic switches, tunable filters, and VOAs. Founded in 1986, the company is a US based, AS9100 certified,...

Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions

About Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions (CWDS) is a long established techno...

Harris Corporation

Harris provides advanced, technology-based solutions that solve government and commercial customers' mission critical...

United Electronic Industries Inc

UEI is a leader in the PC/Ethernet data acquisition and control, Data Logger/Recorder and Programmable Automation Con...

Crane Aerospace & Electronics

When failure is NOT an option...rely on Crane Aerospace & Electronics. We supply high-density, high-reliability c...

A'n D Cable Products Inc

A'n D Cable Provides Data Center Racks, Cabinets, Zero U Rack Management including cable management, copper Cat5E/Cat...
Wire News provided by   

Press Releases

Model INCX-4001

The INCX-4001 consists of a high quality audio transceiver specifically designed to implement a complete fiber optic intercom.

Model PS-1210

The PS-1210 is a 1A, 12VDC stand-alone or rack mountable non-switcher (no RF noise) power supply.

Model OS-3121

Optical switches are utilized to disconnect, bypass and reroute fiber optic communications. All of these optical switches are purely optical path, there is no optical to e...

Webcasts

New Design Tools That Help You Develop Radar That Sees the Un-seeable and Detects the Undetectable

Xilinx EW/ISR System Architect, Luke Miller, has new tricks and he’s going to tell you all about them in a new Xilinx Webinar—for free. His Webinar will cover new ways to implement Radar functions including ...
Sponsored by:

All Access Sponsors


Mil & Aero Magazine

June 2015
Volume 26, Issue 6
file

Download Our Apps



iPhone

iPad

Android

Follow Us On...



Newsletters

Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information
SUBSCRIBE

Cyber Security

Monthly newsletter covering cyber warfare, cyber security, information warfare, and information security technologies, products, contracts, and procurement opportunities
SUBSCRIBE

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers
SUBSCRIBE

Electronic Warfare

Quarterly newsletter covering technologies and applications in electronic warfare, cyber warfare, optical warfare, and spectrum warfare.
SUBSCRIBE

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications
SUBSCRIBE

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles
SUBSCRIBE