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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Senate Confirms Brown to be 22nd Air Force Chief of Staff on Unanimous Vote

Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr.

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The U.S. Senate confirmed Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., June 9 to be the 22nd Air Force Chief of Staff, clearing the way for the decorated pilot and experienced commander to become the first African-American in history to lead a branch of the U.S. military as its highest-ranking officer.

The vote was 98-0.

In advance of the historic vote on his confirmation, Brown testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee during a hearing May 7. During the hearing, Brown pledged to ensure Air Force readiness to support the National Defense Strategy, if confirmed. “I am committed to the Air Force achieving irreversible momentum towards implementation of the National Defense Strategy and an integrated and more lethal joint force,” said Brown.

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More Than 8,500 Airmen Volunteer for U.S. Space Force

ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) — During the month of May, more than 8,500 active-duty Airmen within 13 eligible officer and enlisted career fields volunteered to build the ranks of the newly-created U.S. Space Force.

“I am incredibly proud of the men and women who made the bold decision to volunteer to join the U.S. Space Force and defend the ultimate high ground,” said Gen. Jay Raymond, chief of space operations, U.S. Space Force. “It is a critical time for space, and those Airmen will build the Space Force necessary to compete, deter, and win as required to meet the needs of the National Defense Strategy.”

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Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator Announces Class of 2020

LOS ANGELES (Techstars PR) — Today Techstars announce the 10 companies joining the second class of the Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator, typically located in Los Angeles but running virtually this summer due to COVID-19.

Over the next three months these companies will rapidly accelerate their businesses by working closely with Techstars, Starburst, our network of expert mentors, and our formal sponsors from industry and government: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lockheed Martin, Maxar Technologies, SAIC, Israel Aerospace Industries North America, and the U.S. Air Force, with support from The Aerospace Corporation. Our Demo Day is on September 9, 2020.

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Techstars Allied Space Accelerator Announces Class of 2020

BOULDER, Colo. (Techstars PR) — Techstars is delighted to announce the inaugural class for the Techstars Allied Space Accelerator, a virtual accelerator program in partnership with the U.S. Air Force, the Netherlands Ministry of Defence, the Norwegian Ministry of Defence, and the Norwegian Space Agency. 

The virtual program focuses on the next generation of space technologies, with 10 companies in the commercial space industry to include geospatial analytics, satellite servicing, space situational awareness, resilient communications, AI in space, and others. 

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Report: USAF Early Warning Satellite System Faces Challenges

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

An U.S. Air Force project to launch advanced missile warning satellites faces multiple challenges as it seeks to meet a “highly aggressive and high risk” schedule for a first launch in 2025, according to a new assessment by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared
(Next Gen OPIR) Block 0 consists of three satellites in geosynchronous orbit built by Lockheed Martin and two spacecraft in polar orbit built by Northrop Grumman.

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Report: Costs of Creating a Space National Guard Would Be High

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

It would cost from $100 million to $490 million annually to operate a Space National Guard to serve as a reserve for the newly established U.S. Space Force, according to a report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The Space Force is currently authorized to operate with active-duty personnel only. A Space National Guard would be a reserve force that would be called up as needed to provide additional resources.

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NASA Laser Communications Project Running Behind Schedule, Over Budget

Laser Relay Data Demonstration project (Credit: Universities Space Research Association)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

A NASA project to demonstrate advanced optical laser communications in space is running nearly $50 million over budget and 14 months behind schedule, according to a recent assessment by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) project is designed to advance optical communication technology for use on near-Earth and deep space missions.

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NRL Conducts First Test of Solar Power Satellite Hardware in Orbit

Image of the Photovoltaic Radio-frequency Antenna Module (PRAM) with a 12-inch ruler for scale. The hardware is the first orbital experiment designed to convert sunlight for microwave power transmission for solar power satellites. (Image Courtesy of U.S. Naval Research Laboratory)

WASHINGTON (NRL PR) – U.S. Naval Research Laboratory engineers launched PRAM, the Photovoltaic Radio-frequency Antenna Module, aboard an Air Force X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle on May 17 as part of a comprehensive investigation into prospective terrestrial use of solar energy captured in space.

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Next X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle to Carry 2 NASA Experiments

X-37B after landing at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. (Credit: USAF)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Department of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, in partnership with the U.S. Space Force, is scheduled to launch the sixth mission of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV-6) on May 16 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

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Electron Roll-Out Complete at New Wallops Island Launch Complex

Electron booster on the launch pad at Wallops Island. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

Scheduled for Q3 2020, the mission will be Rocket Lab’s first launch from U.S. soil

LONG BEACH, Calif., April 29, 2020 (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab, a space technology company and the global leader in dedicated small satellite launch, has rolled an Electron launch vehicle out to the Launch Complex 2 pad at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Wallops, Virginia for the first time. The milestone is one of the final steps ahead of Rocket Lab’s first launch from Launch Complex 2 – a dedicated mission in partnership with the Department of Defense’s Space Test Program and the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Small Launch and Targets Division. 

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Report: Market Unlikely to Support More than 2 Launch Providers

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (USAF PR) — Last summer, the Department of the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center Launch Enterprise requested a RAND Corp. study of the heavy lift launch market.

The RAND study, released today, confirms the heavy lift launch market is unlikely to support more than two U.S. launch providers in the long term, and highlights the short term schedule risks of transitioning to new providers. The National Security Space Launch Phase 2 strategy assumes a limited market and mitigates much of the transition risk. The Department is pleased the RAND report supports the major elements of its National Security Space Launch strategy.

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Space Force Acquisition Council Looks to Safeguard Space Industrial Base from COVID-19 Impacts

ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) — In response to COVID-19, the Department of the Air Force is posturing to identify and provide support to the space industrial base, assessing sectors most impacted by the pandemic while creating an environment where companies in need can compete fairly in the event of supplemental federal relief funds.

“Our space industrial base is critical to our military and economy,” said Dr. Will Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics and U.S. Space Force Service Acquisition Executive. “The Space Force Acquisition Council held an emergency session to synchronize our response to fragile supply chains, at-risk workforces, and receding commercial markets and we’ll continue to work with the Department of Defense and Congress to get additional help.”

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Launcher to Test Rocket Engine at NASA Stennis

A rendering of Launcher’s engine test stand that will be built at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. (Credit: Launcher)

NEW YORK (Launcher PR) — We are honored to announce that Launcher has executed a Space Act Agreement with NASA Stennis Space Center for the location of our full-scale test fire facility.

The first campaign is expected this summer as part of Launcher’s U.S. Air Force SBIR Phase II contract to test-fire Launcher E-2, our 22,000-lbf thrust, 3D printed liquid rocket engine.

We are thankful for the opportunity to test our engines at such a capable and historic liquid rocket engine testing center.

Launcher continues to be headquartered in New York City at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and to operate its sub-scale testing facility on Long Island, NY in Calverton, Riverhead.

Space Micro Wins $3M Lasercom Award at USAF Space Pitch Day

SAN DIEGO (Space Micro PR) — At the USAF Space Pitch Day, Space Micro received a $3M award by the USAF Space and Missile Center (SMC) for the development of modified laser secure communications terminals to be used for upcoming Air Force missions.

The U.S. Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) conducted its Pitch Day to enable the quick acquisition of technologies for military use. Dr. Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics has championed these rapid acquisition events.

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