Senate appropriators criticized the Air Force’s handling of its Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP), directing it to reassess its plan for the final space vehicle while recommending that $57 million less than the service requested in the fiscal year 2015 budget request be provided.
The Senate Appropriations Committee (SAC), in a draft copy of its FY ’15 report, was not happy the Air Force planned to spend $425 million to store DMSP-20 until 2020, a cost it called “excessive” for a 1990s-technology satellite originally costing approximately $500 million. The Air Force requested $87 million for DMSP in FY ’15. SAC said it is aware that only a few of the capabilities provided by the satellite cannot be met by other existing civil and commercial satellites.
The Air Force launched DMSP-19 in early April (Defense Daily, April 3). Lockheed Martin [LMT] is the prime contractor for DMSP, which is to generate terrestrial and space weather data for operational forces worldwide.
SAC also recommended an additional $125 million be provided so the Air Force could compete an extra Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) mission in FY ’15. Recent news reports said the Defense Department, in a reprogramming request, asked for $100 million for an additional EELV launch next fiscal year. The Air Force, to the chagrin of many lawmakers, announced earlier this year it would reduce the number of competed EELV missions for FY ’15 from 14 to seven. The reprogramming request was first reported by Inside Defense.