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Air Force Seeks Shorter-Lifespan Satellites to Accelerate Deployment

Jeff Brody

Lt. Gen. John Thompson, commander of the U.S. Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, has said that the service is working on delivering satellite capabilities to warfighters in three to four years, Defense News reported Wednesday. Thompson noted during an Air Force Association conference that the military branch intends to rapidly deploy satellites that “don’t need to last a generation" and operate in orbit for up to eight years.

According to Cordell DeLaPena, program executive for space production at SMC, implementing an open-architecture approach and establishing commonality across the development process will help accelerate deployment.

“It is hard to move fast if you haven’t done the underlying prototyping technology development that allows those systems to go forward," added Col. Dennis Bythewood, the center's program executive for space development.

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