Poll of Space Suppliers Shows Cash Flow, Workforce Issues

The Space Force has gathered more data on the hit industry has taken as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, a top policy official said at a June 16 Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies event.

About half of respondents indicated their cash flow was at least moderately impacted or worse, said Shawn Barnes, acting assistant secretary of the Air Force for space acquisition and integration.

Video: Mitchell Institute on YouTube

Around 50 percent have changed their business strategies for the next few years as well. More than one-third reported that their programs would move slower than anticipated, and over half have seen changes in their supply chain workforce as a result of the pandemic. However, less than one-third of respondents have seen an impact to their supply chain materials.

“It’s not a surprise that those things happened, but it’s certainly important for us to be able to understand,” Barnes said. He did not say how many responses the survey garnered.

The Pentagon’s Space Acquisition Council polled members of the Space Enterprise Consortium as well as non-members, several federally funded research and development centers, and think tanks earlier this year.

“The survey focuses on three distinct priorities:

  1. Emerging supply chain, cleared workforce, and markets under immediate distress
  2. Real bills caused by COVID-19 with the goal of minimizing existing program schedule risks
  3. Stimulus: Small space vehicles, micro-electronics and other key areas for long-term sustainment,” the Space Force said April 29.

“While Air Force officials recognize major suppliers and ‘prime’ companies have been affected by COVID-19, an immediate concern is with tier three and tier four suppliers and vendors, as well as small companies, especially in the small launch, commercial satellite communications, and microelectronic sectors,” the service added.