Shaky State of New Sats:

Despite praise for its new block approach toward new space acquisition efforts, the Air Force is getting little benefit of the doubt from Congress. The Government Accountability Office this summer noted that USAF’s block approach represented “good steps,” the Congressional watchdog gave the Transformational Communications Satellite program a shaky grade. And, Senate appropriators have taken the same view of the next generation Global Positioning System III program. Earlier this year, the House version of the 2008 spending bill left TSAT funding at the Administration request of $763.6 million, but Senate appropriators would cut TSAT by $200 million. On the GPS III, the Senate Appropriations Committee cut the President’s request by $150 million, down to $437.2 million. The House had only cut GPS III by $70 million. The full Senate has yet to complete the 2008 spending bill and probably won’t before the end of the fiscal year.