SASC NDAA authorizes $250 million to Air Force R&D partnerships

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The Air Force needs to fund agreements with firms to assist them prepare to fulfill the demands of the National Security Space Launch Stage 3 contest.
WASHINGTON — The Senate Armed Services Committee’s markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 directs the Air Force to fund around $250 billion in development and research projects to help establish suppliers prepare to fulfill future national safety launch requirements.
Chairman Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) And Ranking Member Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) on June 23 released the full text of this committee’s 1,090-page markup of this 2021 NDAA. The bill, which owes $740.5 billion for national defense , will soon likely be led to the Senate floor. The committee had released a review of the bill on June 11.
The statement supports the Air Force’s strategy to select two winners that summer. But the committee and the decision to terminate R&D funding agreements of the Air Force disagree.
The committee states that the Air Force, after Stage 2 suppliers are chosen, must fund partnerships with firms to assist them prepare to fulfill the demands of the National Security Space Launch Stage 3 rival in 2024.
“The Secretary of the Air Force shall establish a program to develop systems and technologies to increase phase 3 National Security Space launching needs and enable further improvements in launch capability related to the insertion of national security payloads into applicable courses of orbits,” states the bill.
The bill sets a ceiling of about $250 million for partnerships.
The SASC bill includes language in support of launch suppliers which fly rockets that are reusable.
No more than 540 days after choice of National Security Space Launch Stage 2 suppliers, the Defense Department”has to complete the nonrecurring design validation of previously flown launch hardware such as National Security Space Launch suppliers that offer such hardware to be used in the phase two acquisition strategy or alternative national security space missions,” the bill states.
Additional space-related provisions in the SASC charge:
Launch — The committee also directs the secretary of the Air Force identify requirements that are highlighting, and to execute a space launch application to empower tactically reactive space launch, such as launch array infrastructure that is cellular.
Space Development Agency — The SDA from October 1, 2022, or sooner must be moved by the Office of the Secretary of Defense to the U.S. Space Force. The committee allows the SDA to keep acquisition authorities and the identical coverage requirements as the Space Quick Capabilities Office.
Space launch speed investigation — The committee needs a biennial update in the Secretary of the Air Force about the entire amount of space launches for all national security and federal civil agency entities conducted in the United States during the preceding two-year period; and the amount of space launches by the same sponsors projected to occur during the following three-year period.
Impact of National Security Space Launch application on foreign suppliers — The committee also directs the secretary of the Air Force to submit a report on the impact of the acquisition strategy for the National Security Space Launch application on the potential for foreign nations, such as the People’s Republic of China, to enter the worldwide commercial space launch market.
Resilient time, navigation and placement systems — The committee needs reports on DoD’s plans to supply survivable and resilient placement, navigation, and time methods to complement the Global Positioning System satellites.