A third-generation infrared satellite system is already in the works in the USAF FY2010 budget request.
While the Senate appropriators have fully funded the effort, the House version cut the program request by about 30 percent.
An infrared demonstration payload will be launched on a commercial satellite next year, a prudent effort to show initiative in preempting some of the software and hardware challenges that have tormented SBIRS.
The Navy’s MUOS satellite system, with its recently revealed one year slip, is fully funded in the Senate’s appropriations version and will only have to reconcile less than $5M with the House version. However, about $150M of MUOS funding will be put on withhold until the Navy addresses how they will address a rapidly emerging narrowband shortfall.
Options include using ORS and the Tacsat-4 satellite. Probably more likely solutions include placing a military comm payload on a commercial satellite.