Blue Origin BE-4 to Support ULA National Security Launches, Continue New Glenn Development

BE-4 engines (Credit: Blue Origin)

KENT, Wash. (Blue Origin PR) — Today, Blue Origin issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Space Force’s National Security Space Launch (NSSL) Phase 2 Launch Services Procurement (LSP) announcement: 

“We are disappointed in the decision that New Glenn was not selected for the National Security Space Launch (NSSL) Phase 2 Launch Services Procurement (LSP). We submitted an incredibly compelling offer for the national security community and the U.S. taxpayer. Blue Origin’s offer was based on New Glenn’s heavy-lift performance, unprecedented private investment of more than $2.5 billion, and a very competitive single basic launch service price for any mission across the entire ordering period. We are proceeding with New Glenn development to fulfill our current commercial contracts, pursue a large and growing commercial market, and enter into new civil space launch contracts. We remain confident New Glenn will play a critical role for the national security community in the future due to the increasing realization that space is a contested domain and a robust, responsive, and resilient launch capability is ever more vital to U.S security. 

Blue Origin is very proud that our BE-4 engine will power United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan launch vehicle in support of the Space Force’s NSSL program and end reliance on Russian-built engines. The BE-4 is the most powerful liquefied natural gas-fueled rocket engine ever developed and the first oxygen-rich staged combustion engine made in the U.S. We look forward to supporting ULA’s long-standing role in launching national security payloads.” 

– Bob Smith, CEO, Blue Origin

ULA Wins Multi-Year Competitive Contract Award to Launch Critical National Security Space Missions for U.S. Space Force

Artist’s conception of Vulcan Centaur rocket. (Credit: ULA)

CENTENNIAL, Colo., Aug. 7, 2020 (ULA PR) – The U.S. Space Force announced today that United Launch Alliance (ULA) was awarded a firm, fixed-price, indefinite-delivery contract to launch 60 percent of the missions on its newest launch procurement contract. This contract resulted from a competitive award under the Space Force’s National Security Space Launch (NSSL) Phase 2 procurement.

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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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Northrop Grumman’s EPS-R CAPS Satellite Program Completes Delta Critical Design Review

REDONDO BEACH, Calif., Aug. 4, 2020 (Northrop Grumman PR) – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has successfully completed a delta Critical Design Review (dCDR) with the U.S. Space Force for the Enhanced Polar System Recapitalization (EPS-R) Control and Planning Segment (CAPS) program.

“The successful completion of this milestone demonstrates our team’s commitment to agile processes,” said Rob Fleming, vice president, strategic force programs, Northrop Grumman. “Extensive collaboration between the Northrop Grumman and customer teams was a large part of the design review success. The final design review content was shaped in cross functional working group meetings in the preceding weeks leading up to and resulting in a high quality dCDR event that met 100 percent of the exit criteria within 13 months of the contract’s authority to proceed.”

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General Atomics to Build Electro-Optical Infrared Weather System Prototype for U.S. Space Force

SAN DIEGO, Calif., 04 August 2020 (General Atomics PR) — General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced today that it has been selected for the United States Space Force Electro-Optical Infrared (EO/IR) Weather System (EWS) satellite program under the Space Enterprise Consortium (SpEC). GA-EMS will design and manufacture a prototype spacecraft, integrate the EWS payload and provide on-orbit mission control services to support the collection of theater weather imagery and cloud characterization data for worldwide military operational use.

“In addition to our ongoing Orbital Test Bed programs like the Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols (MAIA) for NASA and Argos 4 for the United States Air Force, GA-EMS is pleased to support critical space missions,” stated Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. “With EWS we will continue to leverage our expertise in developing scalable architectures and volume-efficient packaging, as well as our expanding satellite manufacturing capabilities to rapidly design and deliver an EO/IR satellite solution to meet the proposed EWS launch date in 2022.”

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US Space Force Stands up STAR Delta Provisional

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (U.S. Space Force PR) — The U.S. Space Force stood up a provisional Space Training and Readiness command at Peterson Air Force Base during a pre-recorded virtual ceremony today.

The stand-up of STAR Delta Provisional is a critical step to building a lean, agile and future-focused Space Force.

The Delta will be led by Col. Pete Flores and will serve as the parent organization for a number of education, training, test and evaluation units for the Space Force.

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Space Force Begins Transition into Field Organizational Structure

WASHINGTON, (AFNS) — During a virtual pre-recorded ceremony today, the U.S. Space Force executed numerous organization changes in its first realignment actions to transition from the previous Air Force major command structure into the new service’s flatter field organization structure announced June 30.

When fully implemented, the field organization will consist of three echelons of command named field command, delta or garrison depending on focus, and squadron, eliminating one general officer echelon and one O-6 echelon of command.

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Aerospace Corporation to Build a Second Facility in Colorado Springs

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (Aerospace Corporation PR) — The Aerospace Corporation (Aerospace) announced today it is investing nearly $100 million in a second state-of-the-art research and development facility in Colorado Springs, Colo.

This facility, recently approved by the Aerospace Board of Trustees, is planned to be 70 percent classified space and includes a multi-purpose high-technology center to meet the growing requirements of the U.S. Space Command, the U.S. Space Force, and a variety of other customers.

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U.S. Says Russia Conducted Space-based Anti-Satellite Weapons Test

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo., July 23, 2020 (U.S. Space Command PR) — U.S. Space Command has evidence that Russia conducted a non-destructive test of a space-based anti-satellite weapon. On July 15, Russia injected a new object into orbit from Cosmos 2543, currently Satellite Catalog Number 45915 in Space-Track.org. 

Russia released this object in proximity to another Russian satellite, which is similar to on-orbit activity conducted by Russia in 2017, and inconsistent with the system’s stated mission as an inspector satellite. Tracking information can be found on Space-Track.org.

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UK, US Militaries Launch £800,000 International Space Pitch Day

LONDON, 22 July 2020 (UK Government PR) — Start-up tech companies and inventors will get the chance to pitch directly to UK and US military leaders for the $1-million investment to fast-track their ideas for cutting-edge Space innovations.

International Space Pitch Day was launched today by UK Director Space Air Vice-Marshal Harv Smyth.

International Space Pitch Day is a joint UK-US initiative that aims to find, fund and fast-track innovation and technology that gives advantage to military personnel and operations in the space domain.

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U.S. Air Force Introduces Arctic Strategy

Sample of Arctic region military facilities. (Credit: U.S. Air Force)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett unveiled the new, comprehensive  Department of the Air Force Arctic Strategy, July 21.

The strategy outlines the Department’s unique regional role and efforts to optimize Air and Space Force  capabilities throughout the region in support of the National Defense Strategy.

Download: Department of the Air Force Arctic Strategy

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Space Force Selects 2.4K Space Operators for Transfer Beginning on Sept. 1

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Following the May application window for active-duty Airmen in specified career fields to volunteer to transfer to the U.S. Space Force, the service has selected 2,410 members in the organic space specialties of space operations (13S) and space systems operations (1C6) for transfer beginning Sept. 1.

These space operators will officially commission or enlist, as applicable for officers or enlisted, into the Space Force and will grow the initial ranks of the new service.

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Minotaur Rocket Launching Wednesday Morning from NASA Wallops

A Minotaur V rocket carrying NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) lifts off from at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. (Credit: NASA/Chris Perry)

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (NASA PR) — A Minotaur IV rocket carrying a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) is scheduled for launch July 15, 2020, from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The launch vehicle, built and operated by Northrop Grumman, is scheduled for liftoff from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s (MARS) Pad 0B. The window opens at 9 a.m.

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USSF Commercial SATCOM Office Announces Development of New Security Program

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (USSF PR) — The U.S. Space Force Commercial Satellite Communications Office recently announced the development of its Infrastructure Asset Pre-Assessment Program.

The objective of the IA-PRE Program is to advance the security posture of current and future commercial satellite communications procurements for the Department of Defense. As the sole authority for procurement of COMSATCOM services for all of the DoD, the USSF must ensure the most secure space systems are available to support the U.S., its allies, and the joint warfighters.

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USSF Field Command Structure Reduces Command Layers, Focuses on Space Warfighter Needs

ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) — The Department of the Air Force and the United States Space Force have finalized the new service’s organizational structure for echelons below the headquarters, reflecting the newest branch of the armed forces’ guiding principles of being a lean, agile and mission-focused organization.

The USSF field organization will consist of three echelons of command, where the Air Force currently is organized into five echelons. USSF’s organizational structure will initially consolidate and align all organize, train and equip mission execution from former Air Force space-related units.

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