LONG BEACH, Calif., 2 April 2014. When TSAT was cancelled in 2009, the recommendation was to leverage commercial and leverage TSAT technologies to build next-generation aerospace systems and platforms, describes Jim Simpson, president, Boeing Satellite Systems International, Space and Intelligence Systems, The Boeing Company during a talk at the Space Tech Conference in Long Beach, Calif.
The Transformational Satellite Communications System (TSAT) program was a United States Department of Defense (DOD) program sponsored by the U.S. Air Force for a secure, high-capacity global communications network serving the Department of Defense, NASA and the United States Intelligence Community (IC). (Source: Wikipedia.)
“What we have now is fundamentally the programs of record of the past decade,” Simpson says. “The key is: How do we transition from the programs of record to a more resilient, disaggregated systems with smaller, hosted payloads, more economical space vehicles, and more commercial-like approaches to architecture, in a cost-effective manner to keep within the DoD budget?”
“Hosted payloads provide an affordable and responsive means of obtaining capability,” Simpson says. Benefits include: sharing launch to reduce mission cost, taking advantage of available commercial satellite locations and more frequent launch opportunities, availability of excess launch mass and power, and more rapid insertion of new mission capabilities and technology refresh.
“You can essentially change the economics of what you’re trying to do – with dual manifesting, more economical space vehicles, electric propulsion, and more,” Simpson explains. “You can move from $200 million to get access space to $30 million and, with hosted payloads, change the economic model for more diverse, resilient space” systems and platforms.
In the end, we need to generate the kind of environment that enables contractors and government to work together, Simpson affirms.