Speaker News

SDA’s Derek Tournear Eyes Satellite Deorbiting Services to Cut Costs

Commercial deorbiting

SDA’s Derek Tournear Eyes Satellite Deorbiting Services to Cut Costs

Space Development Agency Director Derek Tournear is exploring commercial satellite deorbiting services to reduce costs and streamline the agency’s satellite development process.

The strategy would eliminate the need for redundant propulsion systems on satellites, saving money and allowing the SDA to take more risks with innovative satellite designs, DefenseScoop reported

Tournear, a past Wash100 awardee and Potomac Officers Club event speaker, sees the move as particularly beneficial for SDA’s Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture, a low-Earth orbit constellation fielding new satellite batches every two years. 

While on-orbit maintenance and refueling are still not a priority due to the short lifespan of PWSA satellites, Tournear is keen to explore the possibility of deorbiting failed satellites to control costs.

He believes that planning for early deorbiting could be financially advantageous, allowing the SDA to anticipate a potential failure rate that they could consider in their budgeting, therefore reducing satellite production costs.

The SDA is currently preparing to launch its first operational PWSA satellites. Tranche 1 is scheduled for launch before the end of 2024, with operational status targeted for the end of 2025. 

The initial operational rollout will include Link 16 satellites, wide field-of-view missile-tracking satellites and additional platforms designed to provide critical capabilities for warfighters.

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Category: Speaker News