Northrop Grumman Designs Protected Tactical SATCOM Payload Prototype for U.S. Space Force

REDONDO BEACH, Calif., April 22, 2021 (Northrop Grumman PR) – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has been selected by the U.S. Space Force’s (USSF) Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) to proceed with its ongoing Protected Tactical SATCOM (PTS) Rapid Prototype program, with a flight demonstration of the company’s PTS payload set to occur in 2024.

Selected for the initial award through the Space Enterprise Consortium, this continuation enables Northrop Grumman to proceed with the completion of the detailed design, manufacturing and testing of the payload. The company will also integrate its payload onto a host space vehicle and conduct its on-orbit demonstration.

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Space Systems Command to be Located in Los Angeles

ARLINGTON, Va. (U.S. Space Force PR — The Space Force released the organizational structure for its new Space Systems Command April 8. The Command is set to officially stand up in summer 2021 once all required conditions are met to re-designate the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, as SSC headquarters.

SSC will rapidly identify, prototype, and field innovative, space-based solutions to deliver swift and responsive space capabilities to meet the demands of the National Defense Strategy.

“Space Systems Command’s organizational structure was purpose-built to anticipate and be responsive to the challenges presented by a contested space domain,” said Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, USSF chief of space operations. “We took the SMC 2.0 transformation of 2019 to the next level, aligning missions and organizations, and pushing authorities down from the three-star level to lower echelons in order to reduce cost and go fast. This will allow us to move at speed in delivering the resilient space capabilities necessary to stay ahead of a growing threat.”

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GPS III SV04 Receives Operational Acceptance

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.–Global Positioning System III Space Vehicle (SV) 04 received United States Space Force’s Operational Acceptance approval on Dec. 1- marking yet another significant milestone for the GPS III program, Space and Missile Systems Center and USSF.

It is the fourth GPS III satellite delivered into the operational constellation in the past 12 months and the second in the past three months. Additionally, this is the first GPS III vehicle delivered to the warfighter through an expedited satellite control authority transfer process, which cuts ten days off the previous operational acceptance timeline. 

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Aevum Rolls Out Ravn X World’s First Autonomous Launch Vehicle & Largest Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS)

Ravn-X vehicle (Credit: Aveum)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., December 3rd, 2020 (Aevum PR)— Aevum, Inc., a provider of comprehensive space logistics and autonomous launch services for lightweight payloads, is rolling out its Ravn X Autonomous Launch Vehicle today, the world’s largest Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), by mass, designed to deliver satellites to space as fast as every 180 minutes. Aevum’s customer and mission partner, The United States Space Force, will also take part in the Ravn X unveiling.

Join us at 12 pm ET/9 am PT for the historic public unveiling (virtual for COVID restrictions): More details at www.aevumlaunch.com

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Winners Announced for US/UK Partnered International Space Pitch Day

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (USSF SMC PR) –  U.S Space Force’s Space And Missile Systems Center,  (SMC) along with its partners have announced the winners of International Space Pitch Day (ISPD). Small tech companies and start-ups from multiple countries had the opportunity to pitch their ideas in front of several U.S., U.K. and N.A.T.O. allied defense leaders on Nov. 16, 2020.

During the event, ten start-ups successfully secured same-day contracts and a slice of the $1M pot, to fast-track the development of their innovations. This marks the first time two nations have come together to award defense contracts based around a pitch-style event and the first time two nations have awarded joint defense innovation contracts to foreign companies.

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SpaceX Launches GPS III Satellite for U.S. Space Force

SpaceX launched the GPS III SV4 navigation satellite for the U.S. Space Force on Thursday from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida.

GPS III SV4 is part of the U.S. military’s latest generation of navigation satellites for the Global Positioning System. Lockheed Martin built the spacecraft.

The Falcon 9 booster made an on-time liftoff at 6:24 p.m. EST. The navigation satellite was deployed from the rocket’s second stage 1 hour 29 minutes after launch.

The Falcon 9’s first stage successfully landed on the “Of Course I Still Love You” drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

SpaceX used a new Falcon 9 first stage for the mission. In September, the U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) announced an agreement with SpaceX to launch previously flown first stage boosters on future national security space launch missions.

Orbital Sidekick Awarded $16M U.S. Air Force STRATFI Contract

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 15, 2020 (Orbital Sidekick PR) — Orbital Sidekick (OSK) announced today that it has been awarded a $16 million multi-year contract by the Department of the Air Force’s commercial investment group (AFVentures), in conjunction with the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), as part of its Strategic Financing (STRATFI) program.

This award, which is matched by private investment funds, will allow OSK to accelerate the deployment of six advanced hyperspectral imaging (HSI) satellites with edge processing capabilities as well as integrate its Spectral Intelligence Global Monitoring Application (SIGMA™) platform with the USAF Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS).

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SMC Awards Satellite Rapid Prototyping Contract to Northrop Grumman

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (SMC PR) —The Space and Missile Systems Center awarded an Evolved Strategic SATCOM Space Rapid Prototyping contract to Northrop Grumman on Sept. 16.

The first in a series, SMC will award up to three separate contracts for this work to drive a competitive, rapid prototyping effort and mitigate the risk inherent in these early prototyping and demonstration activities. Subsequent contract awards are expected in the coming weeks.

Under this 5-year space segment rapid prototyping phase, each contractor will develop ground prototypes to demonstrate the most essential ESS payload elements to reduce risk for development and production of the ESS system.

The ESS program will fulfill the Department of Defense capability need for space-based protected strategic military satellite communications. The ESS program will ensure continued capacity, coverage, and protection for worldwide and Arctic DoD strategic, secure, anti-jam, survivable communications supporting ground, sea, and air assets.

ESS will augment, and eventually replace, the Advanced Extremely High Frequency system in support of strategic missions. SMC’s Space Development Corps, led by Col. Tim Sejba, manages the ESS program.

U.S. Defense Payloads to Fly on Reused SpaceX Boosters

Falcon 9 lifts off with the SAOCOM 1B satellite. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (SMC PR) — The U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center Launch Enterprise and Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) recently signed a contract modification to reuse a Falcon 9 first-stage booster – for the first time on a National Security Space Launch mission – starting with the fifth Global Positioning System (GPS)-III satellite, scheduled to launch next year.

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AFWERX Announces EngageSpace, Premier Collaboration Event for Space Industry

LAS VEGAS (AFNS) — AFWERX, the U.S. Air Force’s innovation catalyst, announced Sept. 16 that registration is now live for EngageSpace virtual event. Join AFWERX, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Space Force and the Space Frontier Foundation for this two-day virtual event on September 29-30.

With its highly interactive format and diverse participants, this event is designed to revolutionize how the space ecosystem works, dismantle the walls between sectors and close the “believability gap” for what’s possible in space.

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GPS III SV03 Receives Operational Acceptance

Falcon 9 lifts off with GPS III satellite. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

LOS ANGELES (Space and Missile Systems Center Public PR) — The United States Space Force (USSF) and the Space and the Missile Systems Center achieved another major Global Positioning System (GPS) milestone on July 27 when the GPS III Space Vehicle (SV) 03 received USSF’s Operational Acceptance approval.

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Earth Observant Inc. Wins Air Force Contract to Further Development of VLEO Optical Payload

SAN FRANCISCO (Earth Observant PR) — Earth Observant Inc. (EOI) received this award under the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program and is working with AFWERX, the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

Selected from a competitive line-up of start-up companies, EOI is eager to apply the SBIR award toward advancing its vision for a VLEO satellite imaging platform.

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Space Force Awards National Security Space Launch Phase 2 Launch Service Contracts to SpaceX & ULA

WASHINGTON, (AFNS) — The Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), in partnership with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), competitively awarded two Firm-Fixed-Price, Indefinite Delivery Requirement contracts for National Security Space launch services today to ULA and SpaceX.

“This is a groundbreaking day, culminating years of strategic planning and effort by the Department of the Air Force, NRO, and our launch service industry partners,” said Dr. William Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. “Maintaining a competitive launch market, servicing both government and commercial customers, is how we encourage continued innovation on assured access to space. Today’s awards mark a new epoch of space launch that will finally transition the Department off Russian RD-180 engines.”

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SMC Announces Plan to Award Contracts for 12 Rideshare Launches to 6 Companies

LauncherOne operated in powered flight for only seconds before an anomaly shut it down after being dropped from the Cosmic Girl Boeing 747. (Credit; Virgin Orbit)

In an effort to support its industrial based during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) has announced its intention to award 12 small satellite rideshare launches to six companies.

The awards will be made to:

  • Aevum
  • Astra
  • Rocket Lab USA
  • Space Vector
  • VOX Space
  • X-Bow.
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SMC Awards $309 Million Contracts for Rapid Weather Prototyping Efforts

EWS Notional Distributed Architecture (Credit: SMC EWS Program)

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (SMC PR) — The Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) has awarded three Other Transaction Authority agreements, totaling $309 million, to develop prototypes for the Electro Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) Weather System (EWS) program. The awardees, each a member of the Space Enterprise Consortium (SpEC), are:  

  • Raytheon Technologies
  • General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems Group (subcontractors: EO Vista/Atmospheric & Environmental Research (AER)/Braxton Technologies)
  • Atmospheric & Space Technology Research Associates (ASTRA) (subcontractors: Tyvak/Science & Technologies Corps (STC)/AER/Lockheed Martin)
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