General Space Discussion (Thread 1)

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DocM    12,891


DARPA aims to ‘disrupt’ national security space business

DARPA's Fred Kennedy: "Our savior is going to be the commercial sector."

WASHINGTON — The military space business is stuck in its old ways and missing a "golden opportunity" to capture the energy of a rejuvenated commercial industry, said a former White House space and aviation technology adviser who is now a top official at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
"In the national security space sector, we're in dire need of new thinking and innovation,"  said Fred Kennedy, director of DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office. He assumed that post in September after serving as deputy director since January.

Speaking at a breakfast meeting of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation Nov. 15, Kennedy criticized the Pentagon’s methods for acquiring satellites and called for a “shakeup” in national security space programs.

In the Defense Department, Kennedy said, "We've gotten very good at building small numbers of extremely exquisite things, very expensive things on very long time schedules." That culture that emphasizes high performance and low risk is now working against the military because its satellites have become huge targets for adversaries.

"Our savior is going to be the commercial sector,” said Kennedy. Some pockets within the military are moving in that direction but not soon enough. “We’re starting to see an influx of commercial technology, but we need more of it, and quick."

Kennedy worries that the commercial space boom could turn out to be a fad that fades in a few years, so the Pentagon should be harnessing that energy now. "My biggest fear is that in a couple of years people will forget Matt Damon and 'The Martian' and be back where we were before."

'Other transactions' contracting

DARPA’s weapon for capturing privately funded technology is an authority known as "other transactions," or OTA, to sign contracts with vendors that bypasses some of the federal procurement red tape.

"We do that. It's very effective and useful," said Kennedy. "I can’t say it's always quicker than the normal contracting process. But it is actually an effective way of teaming."

The way it works with DARPA: The agency selects a commercial partner and the company is expected to help fund the venture. "Then we can go out and work on problems jointly," Kennedy said.

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Unobscured Vision    2,160

A fad, huh. So the Colonization of Mars is seen as a "fad"? A passing ADHD interest that'll lose its' luster in a few years? Nah. That dream of the 50's and 60's, and even the early 70's, when we dared to think that Space was the next great frontier, was killed because of people who worked for DARPA and OldSpace because they were too busy trying to figure out ways to kill other people most efficiently during the Cold War.


That's all over with, and they can't get out of that lame-assed midset (being the students of those old idiots) so they have no idea how to deal with the new ideas and new ambitions. Good for them for trying, though.

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