It’s Too Soon to Spell Doom for TSAT:

If Andy Pasztor of the Wall Street Journal has received the right information, the Bush Administration will significantly reduce funding (requires subscription) for the Transformational Satellite Communications System in the Fiscal 2009 defense budget. Industry officials have told WSJ that TSAT will get $4 billion less than anticipated through 2013. Congress cut $150 million from the 2008 defense policy bill, but it also expressed assurance of support for TSAT. Earlier the Government Accountability Office’s praised the Air Force’s revamped management approach. And, although Thomas Young, who is leading a military space review, told WSJ that he worries that TSAT remains a “troubled program,” senior Air Force officials say it’s too soon to cut and run. Gen. Kevin Chilton, now boss of US Strategic Command, views TSAT as “a logical follow-on” to the Wideband Global Satellite and Advanced Extremely High Frequency sat, which will replace Milstar. Chilton believes it’s too early to get concerned about TSAT launch dates, and Gen. Michael Hamel, head of Space and Missile Systems Center, has said the pace of TSAT development is going to be subject to budgetary considerations. Both believe it will be the next technological step in satellite communications.