Should Air Force Space Command Take Control of Its Shore?
This paper recommends caution before developing the near-space capabilities required for stay and stare, persistent ISR, and BLOS communications. The technical challenges can prove more daunting than those associated with development of the high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle, a similar program lasting a decade and costing close to $2 billion. Several lessons from recent operations provide greater improvements to persistence and do not require additional collection systems. Finally, the paper offers several recommendations concerning the way ahead for near-space development.
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