A Glimpse of the Future?

The Operationally Responsive Space program offers insights into what future space acquisition might look like, said Air Force Undersecretary Erin Conaton. “ORS is teaching us valuable lessons about how to leverage readily available technologies in our acquisition efforts to create faster production timelines, and how to manage a fixed-requirements, fixed-cost development effort,” she said in a Center for Strategic Space Studies/Space Foundation-sponsored speech on Capitol Hill at the end of June. She added, “Surely, these are lessons we can apply as we seek to make our acquisition efforts more efficient and cost effective.” The Air Force launched ORS-1, the first ORS satellite, into orbit on June 29 to bolster overhead imagery support to commanders at tactical levels in Southwest Asia. Conaton acknowledged that the ORS program has its fair share of critics and that the Air Force does “need to be cautious as we chart the future trajectory of the program.”