The Air Force’s $40 Billion Space Push
“America’s civilian space program may be on life support, now that the Space Shuttle’s gone. But its military space program is very much alive — and about to get much, much bigger. In the coming decades, the U.S. Air Force plans to pour an additional $36 to $40 billion into its effort to put military and spy satellites in orbit using commercial rocket services,” Foreign Policy reports.
“The Air Force is using that cash to add 60 launches between 2018 and 2030 to its $35 billion rocket launch effort called the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle. EELV is the Air Force’s program to pay private businesses to build and launch the rockets that carry Defense Department satellites into orbit. This planned cash infusion would make EELV one of the Pentagon’s top ten spending programs, InsideDefense points out. This comes just two years after the EELV program began experiencing massive cost increases — that sucked funding from other space initiatives — due to a spike in the price of rocket production. (Interestingly, one of the rockets currently used in the EELV program, the Atlas V, relies on a Russian engine to get it off the ground.)”