SpaceX, ULA Win U.S. Air Force Launch Contracts

The U.S. Air Force has awarded contracts to SpaceX and United Launch Alliance (ULA) for two launches each under its National Security Space Launch Phase 2 agreements.

SpaceX will receive $159,721,445 to launch the USSF-36 and NROL-69 missions from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The launches are expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2023.

ULA will receive $224,290,000 for launching the USSF-112 and USSF-87 missions from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launches are expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2023.

Last year, SpaceX and ULA won U.S. Air Force contracts to launch defense payloads for 2022-27.

Lunar Traffic to Pick Up as NASA Readies for Robotic Commercial Moon Deliveries

This photograph of a nearly full Moon was taken from the Apollo 8 spacecraft at a point above 70 degrees east longitude. Mare Crisium, the circular, dark-colored area near the center, is near the eastern edge of the Moon as viewed from Earth. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA is working on various science instruments and technology experiments from the agency that will operate on the Moon once American companies on Commercial Lunar Payload Services  (CLPS) contracts deliver them to the lunar surface. Through CLPS flights, NASA is buying a complete commercial robotic lunar delivery service and does not provide launch services, own the lander or lead landing operations.

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United Launch Alliance Modifies Launch Pad and Facilities in Advance of First Vulcan Centaur Launch This Year

The VLP emerges from the SPOC for rollout to Space Launch Complex-41. (Credit: United Launch Alliance)

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla., Feb. 2, 2021 (ULA PR) – United Launch Alliance (ULA) has modified Space Launch Complex-41 and the processing facilities in support of Vulcan Centaur’s inaugural launch later this year. The multi-year project to prepare for the larger and more capable launch vehicle culminated in the new mobile launch platform being rolled to the launch pad for final testing.

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Starliner Orbit Flight Test 2 Now Targeted for NET March 25

The Orbital Flight Test Starliner being processed by technicians after return from White Sands Missile Range. (Credit: Boeing)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (Boeing PR) — NASA and Boeing are targeting no earlier than Thursday, March 25, for the launch of Starliner’s second uncrewed flight test as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) is a critical developmental milestone on the company’s path to fly crew missions for NASA. Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner is designed, built, tested and flown by a team committed to safely, reliably and sustainably transporting astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

The target launch date is enabled by an opening on the Eastern Range; the availability of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket; steady progress on hardware and software; and an International Space Station docking opportunity.

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ULA Successfully Launches NROL-44 Mission to Support National Security

A Delta IV Heavy launches the NROL-44 satellite. (Credit: ULA)

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE BASE, Fla., (Dec. 11, 2020) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying the NROL-44 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-37 on Dec. 10 at 8:09 p.m. EST. To date ULA has launched 142 times with 100 percent mission success.

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NASA and Boeing Target New Launch Date for Next Starliner Flight Test

Starliner OFT-1 capsule after landing at White Sands Missile Range. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Boeing Mission Update
December 9, 2020

NASA and Boeing are targeting March 29 for the launch of Starliner’s second uncrewed flight test to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) is a critical developmental milestone on the company’s path toward flying crew missions for NASA.

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Northrop Grumman Rocket Boosters Help Successfully Launch United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V

Northrop Grumman’s GEM 63 rocket motors propel the launch of United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V on Nov. 13, 2020. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

MAGNA, Utah, Nov. 13, 2020 (Northrop Grumman PR) – Three of Northrop Grumman Corporation’s (NYSE: NOC) 63-inch-diameter Graphite Epoxy Motors (GEM 63) rocket boosters were used for the first time today to help successfully launch and deploy the National Reconnaissance Office launch 101 (NROL-101) on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V launch vehicle.

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ULA Successfully Launches NROL-101 Mission for National Reconnaissance Office

An Atlas V rocket launches the NROL-101 satellite. (Credit: ULA)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla., Nov. 13, 2020 (ULA PR) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the NROL-101 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) lifted off on Nov. 13 at 5:32 p.m. EST from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

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Senate Appropriations Committee Sticks a Fork in NASA’s 2024 Moon Landing Plan

Artemis Gateway (Credit: Thales Alenia Space/Briot)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

It looks as if the Trump Administration’s goal of landing astronauts on the moon in 2024 is expiring at about the same time as the administration itself. The fatal blow is being struck by Congress, not the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden.

The Senate Appropriations Committee has released a fiscal year 2021 funding bill that includes $1 billion for NASA to Human Landing System (HLS) that will take astronauts to and from the lunar surface as part of the Artemis program. The amount is far short of the $3.2 billion that NASA has said is needed for HLS to keep the 2024 landing on schedule.

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Atlas V Launch Rescheduled for Wednesday Evening

An Atlas V rocket carrying the AEHF-6 mission for the U.S Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41 at 4:18 p.m. EDT on March 26, 2020. (Credit: United Launch Alliance)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (ULA PR) — Everything is progressing towards the ULA Atlas V launch carrying the NROL-101 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office.

The mission is set to lift off on Wednesday, Nov. 4 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch time is 5:54 p.m. EST.

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ULA’s Atlas V to Launch Reconnaissance Satellite on Tuesday

An Atlas V rocket carrying the AEHF-6 mission for the U.S Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41 at 4:18 p.m. EDT on March 26, 2020. (Credit: United Launch Alliance)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (ULA PR) — Everything is progressing towards the ULA Atlas V launch carrying the NROL-101 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office.

The mission is set to lift off on Tue., Nov. 3 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch time is 5:58 p.m. EST.

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ULA Atlas V Launch Scheduled for Nov. 3

Launch of the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter mission to study the Sun from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Feb. 9, 2020. (Credits: Jared Frankle, NASA Solar Orbiter Social Participant)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla., Oct. 26, 2020 (ULA PR) – The launch of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V carrying the NROL-101 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office is scheduled for Nov. 3, 2020.

The launch period is 5:30 to 8:10 p.m. EST. The Atlas V will launch from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

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ULA CEO Tory Bruno Visits The Space Show this Week

This week on The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston:

1. Monday, Oct. 19, 2020; 7 PM PDT (9 PM CDT; 10 PM EDT) NO PROGRAM TODAY.

2. Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, 7 PM PDT (9 PM CDT; 10 PM EDT): We welcome AMANDA DRESCHLER and MICHAEL LIVINGSTON to discuss their Covid lockdown special film, ” We Can’t Go On.” For details see the upcoming show menu and the blog.

3. Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020; Hotel Mars TBA pre-recorded. See upcoming show menu on the home page for program details.

4. Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020: No program today.

5. Friday, Oct. 23, 2020; 9:30-11 AM PDT; 11:30 AM-1 PM CDT; 12:30-2 PM EDT: We welcome back TORY BRUNO, CEO of ULA.

6. Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020 12-1:30 PM PDT, (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT): We welcome DR. ERIK SEEDHOUSE to discuss his latest books and more.

NASA Tipping Point Selections Include Cryogenic Fluid, Lunar Surface and Landing Tech

An astronaut descends the ladder to explore the lunar surface. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — The following selections, organized by topic area, are based on NASA’s fifth competitive Tipping Point  solicitation and have an expected combined award value of more than $370 million. NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) will negotiate with the companies to issue milestone-based firm-fixed price contracts lasting for up to five years.

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NASA Announces Partners to Advance ‘Tipping Point’ Technologies for the Moon, Mars

NASA and industry have developed and tested numerous technologies to enable long-term cryogenic fluid management, which is essential for establishing a sustainable presence on the Moon and helping crewed missions to Mars. For example, this 13-foot diameter cryogenic storage test tank evaluated technologies to reduce the evaporation or “boil off” propellant losses. Implementation of similar technologies in operational missions requires further maturation through in-space demonstrations. (Credits: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 14 American companies, including several small businesses, as partners to develop a range of technologies that will help forge a path to sustainable Artemis  operations on the Moon by the end of the decade.

U.S. industry submitted the proposals to NASA’s fifth competitive  Tipping Point solicitation, and the selections have an expected combined award value of more than $370 million. NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate will negotiate with the companies to issue milestone-based firm fixed-price contracts lasting for up to five years.

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