Charting Space

The Air Force’s $8 billion request for space in Fiscal 2013 comes in 22 percent lower than the space budget in this fiscal year. That’s primarily due to four factors, said Undersecretary of the Air Force Erin Conaton. First, some of the service’s major space programs have moved into the production phase, which should cost less than development, she told reporters during a roundtable discussion on Feb. 17. Second, the Air Force does not have to fund a Wideband Global Satellite Communications spacecraft in Fiscal 2013. Third, Congress terminated the Defense Weather Satellite System. And, fourth, leaders “made some hard choices,” such as the decision to terminate the Operationally Responsive Space program office, she said. “We think that program has done tremendous work in the years it’s been in existence and we’ve learned an enormous amount,” said Conaton. She added, “We are committed to … infiltrating those lessons learned throughout the space program enterprise out at Space and Missile Systems Command” at Los Angeles AFB, Calif.