The last SpaceX launch with a recycled Falcon 9 first stage is stoking interest in reusable rocket technology. The company expects the US government to eventually become a customer of launches utilizing recycled boosters.
The Defense Advanced Projects Agency's Consortium for Execution of Rendezvous and Servicing Operations, dubbed Confers, is working on building confidence in on-orbit satellite servicing. "How do we avoid any potential for misperception of what one spacecraft is doing when it approaches another spacecraft," said David Barnhart, director of the University of Southern California's Space Engineering Research Center.
So far, the White House is supporting the current $717 billion defense policy bill, despite changes by the House Armed Services Committee. The bill includes funding for 77 F-35 fighter jets.
The Pentagon's Industrial Capabilities report points to the strong performance by the defense industry while noting the long-term challenges of maintaining a skilled workforce. The Defense Department is in contact with the Aerospace Industries Association on the issue.
A report by the Defense Department cites the potential risk of losing access to electronic components and rare materials that are needed for communications equipment. The US military represents a relatively small market for the electronics industry.
Gen. Tony Thomas, who heads the Special Operations Command, says it is time for wholesale upgrades to field equipment, including drones and communications gear. "Incremental improvements are no longer enough," he said, citing current technologies available.
The State Department is highlighting the $19.6 billion in current weapons sales to Japan, including F-35 and Osprey MV-22 aircraft. South Korea has received $26 billion in goods and services under the Foreign Military Sales program since 2000. The US has sold equipment to Japan and South Korea "in the face of North Korea's dangerous and unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile programs," according to the State Department.
General Electric says its Catalyst advanced turboprop engine could be the core technology in a new hybrid-electric engine.
Lockheed Martin's AEHF-5 satellite has passed thermal vacuum chamber tests for the Air Force. The satellite is part of the $15 billion Advanced Extremely High-Frequency program to develop secure satellite communications.