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Military turns to private sector for rapid space innovation

9 Oct 2019, 05:52 UTC
Military turns to private sector for rapid space innovation
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MOUNTAIN VIEW, California – Decades ago, the U.S. Defense Department led innovation in communications and remote sensing technology. Increasingly, U.S. military agencies are turning to the private sector for innovative communications and Earth observation products and services, according to government and industry executives at the Satellite Innovation 2019 conference here.
“In terms of cost, capacity and volume, it would be hard for the military to beat what commercial industry is doing,” Rick Lober, vice president and general manager for Hughes Network Systems’ Defense and Intelligence Systems Division, told SpaceNews.
The Defense Department is trying to speed up access to innovative commercial technologies through a variety of contracting mechanisms like other transaction authority as well as pilot and pathfinder programs aimed at testing new technologies and system architectures.
U.S. Air Force Space Command, for example, is focused on replacing stove-pipe communications networks with enterprise architectures. Air Force Space Command took over responsibility in December for procuring the Defense Department’s commercial satellite communications services from the Defense Information Systems Agency.
“We have a number of initiatives that our office has put in effect with more to come,” said Mike Nichols, chief of commercial satellite communications for Air Force Space Command’s Satellite Solutions ...

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