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ODNI’s Bernard Collins: Gov’t, Space Industry Eye Satellite Acquisition Standards

spaceBernard Collins II, a senior adviser at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, has outlined his stance on interoperability standards in an interview to discuss satellite acquisition and the space industry’s financial picture, production and product quality.

In that interview posted July 25 by the American National Standards Institute, Collins said the government is working with space integrators and suppliers to develop the Space Universal Modular Architecture to set standards for hardware and software satellite components.

He said Integrated Transition Team that comprises of the Defense Department, NASA and the National Reconnaissance Office will support the Consortium for Space Industry Standards as they seek to drive down satellite-based mission costs.

“The government ITT intends to step-in to encourage the consortium and establish a collaborative environment and then step back and let industry develop the standards through consensus.”

Collins, who advises the director of science and technology at ODNI’s Acquisition, Technology and Facilities Directorate, indicated that ODNI is also collaborating with the European Space Agency to potentially make Europe’s Space Avionics Open Interface Architecture a global standard.

Establishing standards could result in cost savings of 29 percent in manufacturing a satellite bus and up to 55 percent for components, Collins says.

“Analysis shows that cost savings comes from reduced design and system engineering resources to work and re-work interface definitions and from efficiencies in integration and test.”

Collins said that standards could increase the volume of satellite sales as cost savings in production lead to lower prices, as well as ease industry’s adaptability to change and innovation.

He also pointed to avionics, automobile and healthcare as among other industries that could benefit from interoperability standards despite wariness in some sectors regarding the use of standards.

Collins recommends the government use fixed-price contracts, preferential language in request for proposals and other practices to encourage industry’s investment in standards.

“Sequestration had a measureable effect on the current and future fiscal profiles,” he said.

“Not only is there motivation to reduce costs, the vast majority of senior executives in government understand the value of standardization and support interoperability.”

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