Bigger isn't always better: Air Force looks to simplify satellite systems

The Air Force is reflecting on the size of its satellite systems, but not in the traditional military sense, where bigger has always seemed to be better, reports Aviation Week.

In a recent speech at the 28th National Space Symposium, Gen. William Shelton, Air Force Space Command chief, went on the record saying that he is an advocate for the use of “disaggregation” of U.S. military constellations, which would mean the service would turn to smaller, less complex and less expensive systems – the later being an added bonus in a time when defense budget cuts abound.

Among those satellites that are candidates for disaggregation and distribution capability, Shelton mentioned the future space situational awareness and weather satellites; the successor to the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program spacecraft; and the nuclear detection payload flying on Global Positioning System satellites, the article said.

Also under consideration as the military’s next-generation satellite architecture is being restructured is how to disaggregate EHF payloads used for strategic communications, the article also noted.

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