GAO reports that it is challenging to procure DoD programs. The U.S. is always ready to counteract when it feels it is under threat. For this reason, the U.S. Space Force intends to launch five missile-tracking satellites before 2029. Though the mission seems quite simple, it is increasingly risky since the space enemies are unpredictable. One can quickly attack another country’s mission satellite while it’s on a test flight.
The program Next-Gen OPIR is a U.S. program to backup the current missile-warning satellites. The Air Force hopes to deploy the satellite by as early as possible to enhance the secure intercommunication within the military camps.
GAO’s report outlines the concerns for DoD acquisition programs. Some of the concerns are the idea that the Next-Gen OPIR is not well prepared to handle a satellite takeoff. The ground of launch is still under development. The other issue relates to the amalgamation of the sensors to the spacecraft. This challenge is complex technically and requires expertise to understand how to resolve it.
Though the Next-Gen OPIR falls under rapid prototyping programs, it is still within the confines of the National Defense Authorization Code. Lockheed Martin’s project is an array composing three geosynchronous Earth orbit satellites. The constellation also constitutes Northrop Grumman’s two elliptical orbit satellites. GAO speculates that the ground system is not redundant enough to host a GEO satellite. They have to depend on Raytheon to recreate an open-architecture ground system to launch the satellite. Therefore, a contract will have to evolve between Air Force and Raytheon, assuring him of the benefits before using his technical expertise. Otherwise, GAO will have to wait until the completion of the Next-Gen OPIR test grounds.
Currently, the current project is to design GEO satellites to incorporate the architectural space of the Space-Based Infrared System satellites with modifications to befit the launchpad.
The Next-Gen OPIR program is going to host satellite buses and sensor tech to cover the uncertainty of the integration phase. Reports say that the modification of the spacecraft to be in line with the mission requirements. The adjustments are solving the ground system challenge and, at the same time, saving time for the initiation of the mission for pretests. DoD officials are aware of the accruing risks but are happy to witness the success of the modification.
Finally, the mission is critical since it concerns a crucial department of security. Space Force leaders are considering technology will solve the current problems amicably, especially at this crucial moment.