Racking and Stacking

STRATCOM is synthesizing the feedback from a senior warfighter forum last November to prioritize the operationally responsive space capabilities that it will pursue to support the combatant commands, according to an Air Force official. “The STRATCOM folks in Omaha are racking and stacking what came out of that,” the official told reporters during a background briefing on USAF’s Fiscal 2009 space budget. This process is indicative of the progress that DOD has made in institutionalizing the idea that rapid response to warfighter needs with space capabilities is possible, the official said. “It doesn’t have to be a new spacecraft,” he said. “We could change software on the ground to change how a particular constellation is used and that could satisfy a warfighter need. … And you could add another payload to maybe even a commercial launcher to satisfy a warfighter need for a surge or a gapfiller or an augmentation. So it doesn’t always mean Minotaurs and microsats.” For cases in which placing new hardware on orbit is deemed necessary, the goal under ORS is to design mini satellites that cost around $40 million and small-sized launch vehicles that cost about $20 million each, the official said.