U.S. Military's Plans for Next Space Surveillance Satellite Delayed

WASHINGTON? The U.S. Air Force has delayed its plannedcompetition to build a second Space Based Space Surveillance satellite,aservice official said Sept. 16.

Thefirst SBSSsatellite,which will use an optical telescope to keep tabs onobjects in geostationary orbit, was built by Boeing Space andIntelligenceSystems of Seal Beach, Calif., and Ball Aerospace &Technologies Corp. ofBoulder, Colo.

Thesatellite's development took longer than expected andits launch has been further delayed almost a year due to problems withits newMinotaur 4 launch vehicle. The Air Force now plans to launch thesatellite onSept. 25.

Theservice in April announced plans to hold an opencompetition to build a second SBSS satellite with requirementsidentical to thefirst. Plans at the time called for awarding a contract to build thesatellitein early 2011 with a launch to occur in late 2014.

However,the release of a final request for proposals forthe SBSS follow-on satellite will now take place no sooner than early2011, AirForce spokesman Joe Davidson said.

?TheAir Force is committed to delivering capability ontime, consistent with warfighter requirements and funding,? Davidsonsaid in ane-mailed response to questions. ?Our current plan is to release thefinalrequest for proposal no sooner than [the first quarter of 2011] andcontractaward will be timed appropriately following [its] release.?

Inaddition to Boeing and Ball Aerospace, an Air Forcedocument posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website listsLockheedMartin Space Systems, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems and OrbitalSciencesCorp. as potential prime contractors for the satellite.

Thisarticle was provided by SpaceNews,dedicated to covering all aspects of the space industry.

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SpaceNews defense reporter

Turner Brinton is the director for public relations at Maxar Technologies, a space technology company based in Westminster, Colorado that develops satellites, spacecraft and space infrastructure. From 2007 to 2011, Turner served as a defense reporter for SpaceNews International, a trade publication dedicated to the global space industry. He left SpaceNews in 2011 to work in communications for Intelsat and later DigitalGlobe before joining the Maxar team.