Budget Would Shut Down Air Force Operationally Response Space Office

The Obama Administration has proposed sharp defense cuts that will hit the military’s space research budget, Spaceflight Now reports:

The Operationally Responsive Space office, headquartered at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., would be closed under the budget request. The Pentagon established the ORS program as a joint-force change agent in 2007 to demonstrate space systems on leaner budgets and rapid schedules.

The Space Test Program, also garrisoned at Kirtland, would receive $10 million in the budget request, a fraction of the program’s $47 million funding level in the current fiscal year.

The budget calls for the end of the Space Test Program, which has provided access to space for more than 500 military research payloads since 1965. The program would be terminated to reallocate funding to higher department priorities, the military said in a statement released to Spaceflight Now.

The ORS program and its predecessor organization successfully developed and launched four satellites since 2006, including three TacSat tactical test payloads and an operational low-cost imaging spacecraft.

“The Air Force is working to integrate ORS lessons learned into the broader set of space programs, allowing for a more distributed and integrated approach,” the department said in a written statement. “To do this, rather than have a stand-alone program office, the Air Force will transition the ORS efforts, principles and activities to the [Air Force] Space and Missile Systems Center.

ORS is budgeted at $110 million for FY 2012. It has been involve in a number of projects, including:

Last year, the Aerospace Industries Association protested proposed cuts in the ORS budget for the FY 2012 budget.