PASADENA, Calif. – The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) is eager to increase development testing of space technology.
“We have to do fast failure and fast learning,” said Roberta Ewart, SMC chief scientist and chief innovation officer. “That implies development testing has to be increased.”
For decades, SMC has not focused heavily on development testing, leaving much of that work to prime contractors responsible for building satellites, launch vehicles and other space-related systems.
“We are looking at the necessary cultural and internal changes to bring development testing online,” Ewart said May 21 at the Space Tech Expo here.
SMC is beginning to look to small businesses, prime research and development projects and Defense Innovation Unit partners for candidate technologies to test in a new program, tentatively called Advanced In-Space Development Testing.
The Air Force does not have much funding allocated for development testing but is eager to work with other government agencies, including NASA, to pool resources.
“There are some precursor missions we could start with on a small scale because if I were to tell you what I thought the cost of true development testing would probably give you sticker shock,” Ewart said. “To do development ...