MDA Seeks Big Increase in Space Spending

Space News
By Titus Ledbetter III
February 14, 2012

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is seeking a significant funding boost for a space-based missile tracking system …

The overall 2013 MDA budget request is $7.7 billion, compared to the agency’s current year budget of $8.4 billion. This sum does not include missile defense efforts that are not directly overseen by the MDA, such as the Patriot Advanced Capability 3 interceptor. The Pentagon’s total request for missile defense efforts next year is $9.7 billion, down from $10.4 billion this year.

The MDA’s 2013 request allocates $297.3 million for the Precision Tracking Space System (PTSS), a proposed constellation of satellites that would track ballistic missiles during the midcourse portion of flight. Congress allocated $80.7 million for the program in 2012, or about half of what the MDA had requested.

The agency’s 2013 PTSS program goals include the completion of preliminary designs for the spacecraft platform, optical payload and communications payload, according to budget documents. The agency will rely on the Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., to develop a PTSS prototype to be launched in 2015. An industry team is expected to be chosen in 2014 to build between nine and 12 operational spacecraft planned to begin launching in 2018. …

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