The new Space Development Agency (SDA) to speed deployment of up to 1,200 satellites will request nearly $11 billion over five years despite congressional doubts, Bloomberg reported Friday.
Air Force leaders originally opposed the agency’s creation in March, but last month proposed an increase of its $150 million budget to about $259 million for fiscal 2021, then $1.1 billion in FY 2022, $1.9 billion in FY 2023, $3.67 billion in FY 2024, and $3.68 billion in FY 2025, the report said.
The agency is separate from the new Space Command, and both organizations are less than the administration’s proposed Space Force military branch.
DOD’s FY 2021 through FY 2025 budget is in progress and SDA’s request is expected to change before the budget’s anticipated February release. However, the increase indicates an ambitious effort to design, demonstrate, build and launch six layers of satellite constellations and ground stations, the report said.
The “National Defense Space Architecture” would provide low-earth orbit satellites to monitor and transmit data for targeting new Chinese or Russian hypersonic weapons if launched, the report said.
Lawmakers have stymied SDA, omitting its FY 2020 $20 million request from the recent continuing resolution (CR) expiring Nov. 22.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Ranking Member Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) earlier denied DOD’s request to shift $15 million to SDA, citing concerns in a July 3 letter the abrupt departure of the agency’s first director and an “apparent change of direction,” according to the report.
Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zoe Thacker