Speaking at the “Strategic Space 2005” conference in Omaha, Neb., several military officials took umbrage at the substantial cuts Congressional appropriators wanted to make to major Air Force-managed space programs. They asserted that cuts to these space programs would affect all services, since all rely so heavily on space operations support. Recent acquisition problems—notably with the Defense Support Program follow-on, the Space Based Infrared System High, but with others like the new weather satellite and intelligence satellite programs—are causing nervousness in the military space arena, said Air Force Lt. Gen. Robert Kehler, the deputy chief of US Strategic Command. “I think any time there are acquisition difficulties [and] that translates into questions of funding support,” he told reporters, adding, “We are concerned about that as advocates.”
Reports of production troubles on the SpaceX rocket that could contend for military cargo deliveries happened to coincide with a different company’s concept receiving an early nod—one that might not require a rocket at all.