Big Bucks for Defense Sat System

The House Appropriations Committee (HAC) fully funded the Bush Administration’s request for the Defense Department’s key satellite program. The committee last week funded the Transformational Satellite (TSat) Program to the tune of $968.3 million in the House’s version of the fiscal 2008 Defense Appropriations Bill.

The HAC report on the 2008 Defense bill said the committee is supportive of the program, but in recent reports, the Government Accountability Office found the program behind schedule and over budget.

The GAO concluded in a May 2006 report on TSat that the planned launch of the first satellite in the constellation had slipped from 2011 to 2014 and the budget had increased from $15.5 billion to $16 billion. In addition, the initial satellites have less capability than originally planned. The first TSat birds won’t have all the nifty space-laser cross links (the way the satellites communicate with one another) as the later ones.

Evidently you can only get so many laser cross-link capability for $16 billion.

The HAC endorsement of TSat came just days before two contactor teams submitted bids for satellite contracts, with both Boeing and Lockheed Martin submitting their proposals Monday, July 30.