New things are always coming up in the space industry, and the experience is more interesting and better. For a while now, there have been talks about smaller and cheaper satellites. Some of the space companies have taken the necessary steps to test their efficiency and any difference with the big satellites. Different launches have resulted in different opinions, but they can all agree that small and cheap satellites are no less to the big and expensive satellites. Over the last twelve months, the US Space Force Procurement arm alongside the Space and Missile Systems Center has helped the Pentagon’s Space Development Agency invest in small satellites.
The partnership between SMC and SDA may come as a shocker to many who have kept an eye on the Defense Department’s Space Organizations’ politics. Space Force was founded in 2019 December, and the Defense Department was quick to keep the SDA as a stand-alone organization. DoD’s Space agency was established a few months earlier, in March. It took the position of disrupting organization to challenge the traditional procurement method, especially regarding large satellites embodied by SMC.
Back then, the Air Force leaders pushed back the idea and invested in finding ways to shut down SDA to argue that SMC was active and functional in the procurement agency sector. SDA is currently a small agency with limited staff that needs SMC experience and expertise to advance its programs. Not to mention, the space force has welcomed SDA’s vision to include smaller and cheaper satellites.
Although SMC will not let go of the large customized spacecraft, it will focus on the low earth orbit. This detail doesn’t surprise many who keep an eye on the commercial space industry since the space sector seems to be shifting in that direction. Lt. Col. Tim Trimailo, head of prototyping and innovation programs in SMC, said that his team has been working on different proposals and giving recommendations to assist SDA to get contract awards and meet their timelines.
SDA is planning on having a satellite constellation in the earth’s orbit by 2022. Tim’s office, Los Angeles-based, offered SDA connections with other SMC offices that venture into the launch services, manufacturing, and ground systems. Also, he stated that this partnership is beneficial to the two teams. SDA will finally work under the Space Force since congress is directing Pentagon to transit the Space Force agency by 2022.
However, SDA plans on completing the debut deployment of the satellite constellation, whose key role is to detect and track missiles. Most of the technology that the company requires is under the BlackJack development program. SDA’s potential is obvious, and the DoD leaders learn of these capabilities and what they can offer. SDA Agency’s future is bright, and time will unveil this fact.