During FY 1999, the Interagency GPS Executive Board further refined plans for modernizing the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite constellation. GPS provides precise position, timing, and velocity information to civil and military users worldwide. As a result of a thorough review of national requirements for public-sector navigation, two new civil navigation frequencies will be phased in over the next decade. A second civil signal at 1,227 megahertz (MHz) will be similar to the existing signal at 1,575 MHz. A third civil signal, designed for 1,176 MHz, will support civil aviation by further enhancing the robustness and accuracy of the GPS. The U.S. delegation to the recently concluded World Radiocommunication Conference 2000 in Istanbul was successful in gaining approval for the third civil frequency and the requisite authorizations for use of all three frequencies in space. These new civil signals will enable the civil community to develop a broad range of new and improved GPS applications.
The National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Preparatory Project (NPP) is a joint mission involving the Departments of Defense and Commerce and NASA. During FY 1999, the NPOESS program office and NASA developed a strategy for placing selected imaging and sounding systems on orbit several years before the first NPOESS is launched. This effort is known as NPP. The tri-agency NPP team performed NPP spacecraft concept studies, conducted mission architecture concept studies, and drafted the mission's technology demonstration plan. NPP will provide important data to NASA as a bridging mission between NASA's Earth Observing Systems. NPP will also provide technical and schedule risk reduction for new NPOESS sensors, as well as an opportunity for operational users to test the new sensors and their associated flight and data-processing algorithms. In addition, flight-testing NPOESS sensors on NPP minimizes the test and checkout period of the first operational NPOESS satellite and therefore maximizes the operational utility of the first NPOESS satellite. Additional details on NPOESS progress are covered in the Department of Commerce section of this report.
DoD, NASA, NOAA, and other Federal agencies teamed together to complete a comprehensive Space Weather Architecture study during FY 1999. This study laid out the structure for space weather architecture to meet all U.S. Government requirements and mitigate the adverse impacts of solar events by the year 2025. In September 1999, DoD officials also approved the Wideband gapfiller to be the first DoD-owned MilSatCom system to be procured under the Federal Acquisition Regulation Part 12, which governs acquisition of commercial items.
During FY 1999, DoD continued to work on the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program to develop a national launch capability that satisfies Government requirements and reduces launch costs by at least 25 percent. The Air Force announced the award of contracts valued at a total of $3 billion to Lockheed Martin and Boeing. DoD awarded each of the companies a $500 million contract for engineering and manufacturing development agreements. The two companies also have contracts for initial launch services of DoD's EELV program that total $2.03 billion; Boeing received 19 launches at $1.38 billion, and Lockheed Martin received $650 million for 9 launches. The EELV program's objective is to improve the affordability and operability of the Nation's expendable launch systems and to replace the current fleet of medium and heavy launch systems with two modular families of launch vehicles.
1998-99, three DoD satellite launches on variants of the Titan IV vehicle
and upper stages failed at a total dollar loss in excess of $3 billion.
In May 1999, the President requested that the Secretary of Defense, in
coordination with the Director of Central Intelligence and the NASA Administrator,
examine the failures and to provide a report on the causes and corrective
actions being taken to prevent their recurrence and to ensure future access
to space. The DoD Assessment of Space Launch Failures Report summarizes
the results of independent industry reviews, Air Force accident investigation
boards, and an Air Force/National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)-directed
Broad Area Review. It concluded that a combination of technical and process
deficiencies contributed to the failures. DoD has already taken many actions
to correct the specific problems that contributed to the three failures
that sparked this intense review, and more steps are under way.