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SMDR for Mon., July 31, Vol. 17, Issue 16

House Rejects Attempt To Nix Space-Based Missile Defense

The House has defeated by voice vote a proposal to block funding for a new space-based missile defense system.The proposed amendment to the fiscal year 2018 defense appropriations bill would have denied money needed to carry out a provision in the House-passed FY 2018 defense authorization bill that would direct the Missile Defense Agency to begin developing…

Air Force Issues Draft RFP For Next Order Of GPS III Satellites

The Air Force has taken a step toward re-competing production of Global Positioning System (GPS) III satellites by releasing a draft solicitation for up to 22 spacecraft.Industry feedback on the document, along with a recent industry day in El Segundo, Calif., “will inform a final request for proposal,” scheduled for release in fall 2017, the…

Senate Panel Votes To Save NASA’s Satellite Servicing Mission

The Senate Appropriations Committee (SAC) has moved to preserve NASA's Restore-L satellite-servicing mission, rejecting the agency's proposal to nix the program.The committee, which approved its fiscal year 2018 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) appropriations bill July 27, included $130 million to continue Restore-L. The legislation now heads to the full Senate for its consideration.Acting NASA Administrator…

Army Working Up To 100 kW Laser Weapons Step By Step

The Army is sequencing tests of directed-energy technologies up towards a 100 kW laser by 2022 for fixed and rotor wing targets, the head of Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command said July 18.Lt. Gen. James Dickinson highlighted directed energy/lasers as an important research effort for his command at an Association of…

STRATCOM Commander Wary Of ‘Tit-For-Tat’ Response To Russian INF Violation

The State Department on July 3 released additional details about the types of ballistic missiles, launchers, and bombers being counted under the latest New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) aggregate data.A "tit-for-tat" response to Russia’s violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF)Treaty may not be the best option for the United States, Gen. John…

Sierra Nevada Taps ULA To Launch Dream Chaser To Space Station

Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) announced July 19 that it has picked the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas 5 rocket to launch the Dream Chaser spaceplane's first two cargo resupply missions to the International Space Station.“SNC recognizes the proven reliability of the Atlas 5 rocket, and its availability and schedule performance makes it the right choice for the first two flights…

Developing Falcon Heavy Rocket Is Harder Than Expected, SpaceX’s Musk Says

Developing SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket has proven more challenging than expected, according to SpaceX founder Elon Musk.Musk said at a conference July 19 that he originally thought the project would be straightforward because Falcon Heavy is based on the existing Falcon 9. For instance, Falcon Heavy uses the same Merlin first-stage engine, though it triples the number…

U.S. Strategic Command Consolidating Component Commands

U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) is streamlining its component structure by consolidating 18 component commands into four, the head of STRATCOM said July 26.Under the reorganization, one component command will be responsible for all air and missile capabilities, while the others will oversee maritime forces, missile defense and space, said Air Force Gen. John Hyten, who spoke…