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Guest intruder

Lo metto qui perché si teme il medesimo problema dell'OCO:


Launch of the U.S. Air Force's first Space-Based Space Surveillance (SBSS) satellite aboard a Minotaur rocket has slipped as engineers try to ensure that the flight does not suffer the same fate as NASA's Orbital Carbon Observatory (OCO).


The Block 10 SBSS launch, which had been expected to take place in April or May, is now likely to slip to July, according to Craig Cooning, CEO of Boeing Satellite Systems International.


OCO was lost in February when the fairing on its Orbital Sciences-built Taurus XL rocket failed to open (Aerospace DAILY, Feb. 25). Orbital also builds the Minotaur, which has a lot of hardware in common with the Taurus, including fairing systems.


SBSS will optically survey objects in geosynchronous orbit from its own low-Earth orbit. Its deployment was led extra urgency by last year's loss of the Defense Department's only previous space-based sensor for keeping tabs on other satellites, which finally failed after exceeding its design life (Aerospace DAILY, June 10, 2008).


Meanwhile, SBSS manufacturers Boeing and Ball Aerospace are waiting for the Air Force to get back to them on an offer the contractors made in December to build a second Block 10 SBSS spacecraft. "We have offered the Air Force an opportunity to purchase another SBSS at firm fixed price, at what we think are very attractive terms," Cooning said during a press breakfast in Washington March 25.


He would not disclose the price tag for the proposed second satellite, but indicated it would be much lower than the estimated $823 million spent to develop and build the first, which included nonrecurring engineering costs.


The Air Force's answer to the proposal will be contingent on budget priorities, which remain a moving target as the Obama administration sets its defense agenda and the Air Force tries to determine the best mix of space-based and ground-based sensors to meet its space surveillance needs.








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