Air Force Wants An Additional $2bn In 2020 Budget For Space Programs

The US Air Force is actively involved in space-related development of the country and has requested a budget of $13.8 billion for the year 2020 budget which is an apparent $2 billion or 17 % increase from the $11.8 billion that has been allotted for 2019.

A majority of the portion of the allocated fund, almost close to $10.3 billion is used to fund the advancements in space technology like launch services, satellites, and Landers. Whatever is remaining is used for training, operations and personnel costs for space activities. The increase that has been proposed for 2020 is for increased funding for research and testing along with evaluating, so that there is acceleration in the development of satellites of the next-generation.

The main beneficiary of this boost is going to be the five warning satellite missiles that will form a constellation also known as the Overhead Persistent Infrared or OPIR, which is considered as a pioneer in next-gen satellites. Out of the hike of $1.6 billion asked for warning missiles, $1.4 billion will be dedicated towards OPIR while $200 million will be kept aside for maintaining the pre-existing system. Another reason why the Air Force has asked for the increased budget is the fact that they are trying to launch these missiles in 5 years instead of the intended 9 years initially.

The system will provide adequate warning and have super added resiliency features. A ground system for OPIR called FORGE or Future Operationally Resilient Ground Evolution also demands increased budgets. GPS 3 program is another aspect that needs financial attention. Excluding all these, $1.3 billion has been allocated for satellite communications as well while $1.6 billion has been kept aside for National Security Space Launch program. The demand for the increased budget has received a boost in the Trump administered Government while the Pentagon has also justified the demand stating that being prepared for space wars in the future is of utmost importance.

About: Akash Gokhe