NewSpace 2012: Coyote Smith on Reinventing Air Force Space Operations

Col. M.V. “Coyote” Smith

Opportunities in Commercial Space
Col. M.V. “Coyote” Smith
Chief Future Scientist, U.S. Air Force

The Problem:

  • USAF spends $16 billion per year employing 41,000 people to manage 54 satellites
  • Intelsat has 1,100 employees and over 50 satellites
  • Air Force personnel work at a particular job for two years before being reassigned
  • Keep having to train new people
  • Have to hire a lot of support people to support the Air Force personnel who keep rotating in and out of these jobs
  • AF squadron model works for flight operations – certain number of support personnel, etc.
  • Doesn’t work well for satellite operations

The Solution:

  • Public-private partnerships to manage AF satellites
  • Would save money over time for government
  • Create more employment in the private sector
  • International partnerships would become easier
  • Space Guard model could be developed along the lines of the Coast Guard

The Path Forward:

  • First public discussion of it – have discussed it with some fellow officers
  • Wants pro-space groups to take up the cause