U.S. Air Force Awards Viasat $90 Million to Expand Tactical Data Networking Capabilities

CARLSBAD, Calif., January 21, 2020 (ViaSat PR) -– Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global communications company, announced today it was recently awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract worth a maximum ceiling of $90 million, to provide special warfare operators of the United States Air Force (USAF) with Viasat’s Battlefield Awareness Targeting System—Dismounted (BATS-D) handheld Link 16 radios (also known in the U.S. Department of Defense nomenclature as the AN/PRC-161 radio). In addition to equipment, the IDIQ award covers associated operator training and maintenance.

BATS-D is the world’s first and only handheld Link 16 radio. It bridges a critical gap between air and ground forces by providing warfighters at the tactical edge with real-time, secure, reliable access to integrated air and ground information for improved situational awareness and enhanced close air support communications.

(more…)

Next Cygnus Spacecraft Named After First African American Astronaut

Robert Henry Lawrence Jr.

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (Northrop Grumman PR) — Northrop Grumman will launch the NG-13 mission on February 9, 2020. The company’s Antares rocket will launch the Cygnus spacecraft from Pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia with the 5-minute launch window opening at 5:39 p.m. ET.

Northrop Grumman is proud to name the NG-13 Cygnus spacecraft after former astronaut Robert Henry Lawrence Jr. It is the company’s tradition to name each Cygnus after an individual who has played a pivotal role in human spaceflight. Major Lawrence was selected in honor of his prominent place in history as the first African-American astronaut.

(more…)

Original Firefly Shareholders Sue Firefly’s Markusic, Polyakov Alleging Fraud

Tom Markusic

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

A group of original shareholders in the defunct Firefly Space Systems have accused co-founder and CEO Tom Markusic of fraudulently conspiring with Ukrainian billionaire Maxym Polyakov to force the rocket company into bankruptcy in 2017 and reconstitute it under a nearly identical name without giving them any stake in the new venture.

Markusic “betrayed the trust of his original co-founders and investors and committed fraud to cut them out of his aerospace company. Instead of managing the operations of the Original Firefly, a revolutionary rocket company with endless potential, Markusic schemed with…Maxym Polyakov…to rob Plaintiffs of their investments and form a new company called Firefly Aerospace, Inc. (the ‘New Firefly’),” the plaintiffs said in a lawsuit.

(more…)

USAF Seeks SBIR Proposals for Cislunar Space Operations

In what might be a reaction to China’s ambitious space program, the U.S. Air Force (USAF) will award funding under its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program to proposals for commercial technology that will allow it to operate in cislunar space.

“As the space beyond geosynchronous orbit becomes more crowded and competitive, it is important for the Air Force to extend its space domain awareness responsibilities to include this new regime.. To support this new body of work, the Air Force is seeking commercial innovation in support of space domain awareness for future cislunar operations,” the service said in a pre-solicitation notice.

(more…)

Northrop Grumman, AFRL Partner to Provide Critical Advanced Technology in Space Solar Power

An artistic representation showcases the capture of solar energy in space that is precisely beamed it to where it is needed through the Space Solar Power Incremental Demonstrations and Research (SSPIDR) Project. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

Project directly supports the Space Solar Power Initiative converting solar power in space to radio frequency on Earth.

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (Northrop Grumman PR) — Northrop Grumman is working with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) on a project to rapidly infuse space technological innovations to incrementally develop component technologies needed for a prototype solar energy collection system.

The project is designed to provide constant, consistent and logistically agile power to expeditionary forces operating in unimproved areas such as forward operating bases. These forces require assured power that will be transmitted via radio frequency (RF) from spacecraft.

(more…)

GAO Upholds Blue Origin’s Protest Over USAF Launch Solicitation

Jeff Bezos

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has upheld a pre-award protest by Blue Origin over the selection process the U.S. Air Force is using to award contracts for military launches for the years 2022 to 2027.

GAO recommended the Air Force modify the solicitation under which it planned to select two companies that would compete for launches during that period. The decision would have been based on which combination of two independently developed proposals provided the best value to the government.

(more…)

Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Win Satellite-related Contracts

Lockheed Martin has won an U.S. Air Force contract worth up to $3.3 billion for operations, sustainment and enhancement activities to support the Advanced Extremely High Frequency, Milstar and Defense Satellite Communications System III programs.

Raytheon has won a U.S. Navy contract worth $61.5 million for Global Positioning System-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Service (GPNTS) software support.

Full details on the contracts are below.

(more…)

USAF Space Pitch Day Yields Innovative Technologies, New Partners

ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) – The United States Air Force has long been a leader in space and a catalyst for cutting-edge technology.

But the Air Force doesn’t get there – or stay there – alone, which is why senior officers and officials, including Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett, were in San Francisco Nov. 5-6 for Space Pitch Day, an event designed to find new partners, innovative technologies and products while fast-tracking development.

By the end of the two-day event, 30 pre-selected companies were awarded on-the-spot contracts with the Air Force worth a total of $22.5 million.

(more…)

Space and Missile Systems Center’s Launch Enterprise Team Wins David Packard Award

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (USAF PR) — The U.S. Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center Launch Enterprise team has won the 2019 David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award. 

The Packard Award recognizes Department of Defense organizations for innovation and best acquisition practices. SMC’s Launch Enterprise team crafted an acquisition strategy of innovative public-private investments in launch vehicle development, resulting in the continuous delivery of acquisition performance with both affordability and speed.

(more…)

GAO: USAF’s Space Command and Control Program Needs Better Oversight

The U.S. Air Force’s effort to modernize and consolidate its space command and control systems into a single comprehensive platform has made progress, but it will need comprehensive planning and oversight to succeed, according to a review by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

“The Space C2 program is facing a number of challenges and unknowns, from management issues to technical complexity,” the report to Congressional committees stated. “Additionally, DOD officials have not yet determined what level of detail is appropriate for acquisition planning documentation for Agile software programs. They are also not certain about the best way to provide oversight of these programs but are considering using assessments by external experts….

(more…)

USAF Issues National Security Launch Architecture Study RFI

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE – EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (USAF PR) — The U.S. Air Force’s Space and Missile System Center released a Request for Information (RFI) today to learn more about industry’s innovative developments in launch, on-orbit maneuverability, and commodity transport architectures for on-orbit servicing.  SMC will use this information to assess if and how it can leverage such capabilities to satisfy National Security Space operational requirements in contested space environments.

“SMC strives to deliver an integrated open space architecture, able to rapidly on-board Allied, commercial & mission partner capabilities and advanced technologies at the speed required to outpace the threat, that enables multi-domain coalition architectures,” said Col. Russell Teehan, SMC’s Portfolio Architect, who leads this study.  

(more…)

DOD Awards Iridium 5-Year Gateway Evolution Contract Worth Up to $76 Million

MCLEAN, Va., Oct. 1, 2019 (Iridium PR) — Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: IRDM) today announced that it has been awarded a 5-year, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract from the Defense Information Systems Agency on behalf of the United States Air Force Space Command (AFSpC) with potential revenues up to $76 million.  

Known as the Gateway Evolution Contract (GEC), this contract enables ongoing innovation and critical enhancements for the U.S. Government’s dedicated Iridium gateway.  It will enable adoption of the latest technology upgrades, both hardware and software, necessary to address emerging warfighter requirements and to ensure continued operations with the latest state-of-the-art satcom-based capabilities.

(more…)

USAF Awards ULA Contract for Atlas V Launches

Atlas V launches Orbital ATK-designed satellites for the U.S. Air Force. (Credit: ULA)

LOS ANGELES (DOD PR) — United Launch Services, Centennial, Colorado, has been awarded a $98,549,235 firm-fixed-price contract for Atlas V Completion launch services. 

This contract provides launch service completion for three National Security Space Launch Atlas V missions (two Air Force and one National Reconnaissance Office) previously ordered under contract FA8811-13-C-0003. 

Work will be performed at Centennial, Colorado; Decatur, Alabama; and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, and is expected to be completed by Nov. 30, 2020.  This award is the result of a sole source acquisition. 

Fiscal 2019 and 2020 procurement funds are being obligated at the time of award.  The Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the contracting activity.

Aerospace Corporation Receives $1.1 Billion Contract From U.S. Air Force

WASHINGTON (DOD PR) — The U.S. Air Force has awarded The Aerospace Corporation of El Segundo, Calif., a $1,084,529,525 modification to a previously awarded contract for systems engineering and integration support for the national space community.

This contract modification provides for the exercise of option year one for fiscal 2020 services being procured under the multiple year contract. Work will be performed at El Segundo, and it is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2020.

The total cumulative face value of the contract is $2,158,348,065. Fiscal 2020 research and development funds are being used and no funds are being obligated at the time of the award. The Space and Missile Systems Center, El Segundo, California, is the contracting activity.

DOD Awards 7-Year, $738.5 Million Contract to Iridium

MCLEAN, Va., Sept. 16, 2019  (Iridium PR) –Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: IRDM) today announced that it has been awarded a $738.5 million, seven-year, fixed-price contract with the United States Department of Defense through the U.S. Air Force Space Command (AFSpC) to provide unlimited satellite services from its unique Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation.

Through what is known as the AFSpC’s Enhanced Mobile Satellite Services (EMSS) program, Iridium will continue to deliver access to global secure and unsecure voice, broadcast, netted or Distributed Tactical Communications System (DTCS) and select other services for an unlimited number of DoD and associated DoD-approved subscribers. 

(more…)