Rocket Lab to Supply Solar Power for United States Space Force’s New Missile Warning Satellites

Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared satellites. (Credit: Raytheon Intelligence & Space)

The solar cell assemblies will power three Lockheed Martin spacecraft designed to provide resilient space-based global missile warning capabilities to meet evolving threats from adversaries under the United States Space Force’s Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (Next Gen OPIR) Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) program

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a leading launch and space systems company, announced that its high-efficiency, radiation-hardened Coverglass Interconnected solar Cell (CIC) assemblies will power the three Lockheed Martin Next Gen OPIR GEO (NGG) satellites for the United States Space Force (USSF). The NGG program will deliver resilient global missile warning capabilities to counter emerging missile and counter-space threats and is part of the latest evolution of the USSF’s missile warning system, following the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) program, which was supported by SolAero, a space solar power company acquired by Rocket Lab in January 2022.

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Air Force Research Laboratory Recurve Satellite Launched on Virgin Orbit Mission

Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate’s spacecraft Recurve was launched into low Earth orbit July 2, 2022, from the Mojave Air and Space Port, Rutan Field, Mojave, California, on a Virgin Orbit U.S. Space Force Space Test Program mission. (Credit: U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory)

by Jeanne Dailey
Air Force Research Laboratory Public Affairs

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFRL) — The Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate spaceflight experiment Recurve was launched July 2, 2022, from the Mojave Air and Space Port on the Virgin Orbit space system in California. The launch supported the U.S. Space Force’s STP-S28A mission and carried six additional payloads for the Department of Defense Space Test Program (STP).

Recurve is the latest in several low-cost CubeSats designed, built and operated entirely in house at the Space Vehicles Directorate located on Kirtland AFB.

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Virgin Orbit Successfully Launches Seven Satellites

Cosmic Girl takes off for the Straight Up mission on July 1, 2022. (Credit: Virgin Orbit/Virgin Orbit/Dae Dae)

MOJAVE, Calif., July 2, 2022 (Virgin Orbit PR) — Virgin Orbit (Nasdaq: VORB) has confirmed the success of its fourth consecutive satellite launch mission. This launch, named Straight Up, carried seven satellites to Low Earth Orbit for the United States Space Force (USSF), who procured this launch for the Rocket Systems Launch Program, with payloads provided by the Department of Defense Space Test Program (STP). In support of its mission partners, Virgin Orbit has now delivered a total of thirty-three satellites to orbit with 100% mission success.

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United Launch Alliance Successfully Launches Critical National Security Mission for U.S. Space Force

A ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the USSF-12 mission for the U.S. Space Force lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41 at 7:15 p.m. EDT on July 1. (Credit: United Launch Alliance)

Atlas V precisely delivered USSF-12 mission to a complex geosynchronous orbit

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla., (July 2, 2022) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the USSF-12 mission for the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command lifted off on July 1 at 7:15 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. To date ULA has launched 151 times with 100 percent mission success.

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ULA Atlas V to Launch USSF-12 Mission on Thursday

Atlas V for the USSF-12 mission on the launch pad. (Credit: ULA)

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla. (ULA PR) — A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 541 rocket will launch the USSF-12 mission for the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command (SSC). Liftoff will occur from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida.

Launch Date and Time: Thursday, June 30, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. EDT (2200 UTC)

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U.S. Space Force SSC’s GEO Wide Field of View Scheduled for Takeoff

Designed, built and integrated by Millennium Space Systems, Wide Field of View will demonstrate missile warning technologies and techniques. (Image Credit: Millennium Space Systems)

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (Millennium Space Systems PR) — The United States Space Force (USSF) Space Systems Command’s (SSC) Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) Wide Field of View (WFOV) Testbed is scheduled to launch June 30, 2022. SSC’s GEO WFOV space vehicle was designed built and integrated by Millennium Space Systems, a Boeing Company, and will inform the future Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) architecture.

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Delta 18 Activation and National Space Intelligence Center Establishment

U.S. Space Force Colonel Marqus Randall (right), Space Delta 18 commander, takes Space Delta 18’s guidon for the first time at the activation ceremony for Space Operations Command’s newest Delta, Space Delta 18, and established the National Space Intelligence Center (NSIC) at the Nutter Center, Dayton, Ohio, June 24, 2022. Space Delta 18 is named in honor of the U.S. Space Force’s role as the 18th member of the intelligence community. Delta 18 will deliver critical intelligence on threat systems, foreign intentions, and activities in the space domain to support national leaders, allies, partners and joint war fighters. (Credit: U.S. Space Force/SrA Jack Gardner)

By 1Lt Rachel Brinegar
Space Operations Command

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio, June 24, 2022 — Today, the Nutter Center in Dayton, Ohio is the stage for the activation of Delta 18 and the establishment of the National Space Intelligence Center.

Colonel Marqus Randall assumed command of the new Delta, which consists of Space Delta 18 headquarters staff and two squadrons, the 1st Space Analysis Squadron and the 2nd Space Analysis Squadron, which transitioned from under the National Air and Space Intelligence Center to the National Space Intelligence Center under the U.S. Space Force. 

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Virgin Orbit on Target for Next Launch Window to Open June 29

Highlights: 

  • Dress rehearsals complete, payload-rocket mating successful 
  • June 29 marks the opening of the launch window for the company’s fourth overall mission  
  • Is lead-in to historic U.K. launch planned for later this year

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Virgin Orbit PR) — Virgin Orbit (Nasdaq: VORB)’s launch system is in place at the Mojave Air and Space Port. The dress rehearsals are complete, and the company remains on track for its upcoming Straight Up launch, with a launch window opening on June 29 at 10 pm PDT.

The launch will support the United States Space Force’s STP-S28A mission and carry payloads for the Department of Defense (DOD) Space Test Program (STP). The target orbit for Straight Up is approximately 500 km above the Earth’s surface at a 45-degree inclination. Virgin Orbit is the first company to achieve this feat from California through its Above the Clouds launch which was completed earlier this year.

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Space Industrial Base Workshop Finds U.S. Falling Behind China in Key Areas

Credit: State of the Space Industrial Base Workshop

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (SSIB Conference PR) — Industry and government thought leaders gathered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the fourth annual State of the Space Industrial Base (SSIB) Workshop between May 31-June 3, 2022 to assess the health of, and provide recommendations to sustain, the United States’ leadership and advantage in space. Previous SSIB reports provided in-depth assessments and actionable recommendations for U.S. leadership. This year’s theme was “Prosperity & Sustainability: Winning the New Space Race.”  

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Launcher Awarded U.S. Space Force TACFI Contract to Develop its High-performance E-2 Liquid Rocket Engine

HAWTHORNE, CA, May 24, 2022 (Launcher PR) – The U.S. Space Force has awarded Launcher $1.7M to further develop our E-2 engine, which we proved earlier this month at NASA Stennis Space Center to be the highest-performing liquid oxygen and kerosene rocket engine combustion chamber in the U.S.

We are grateful for the U. S. Space Force’s support to advance E-2 development and help meet the goals of the DoD by maximizing performance and payload capacity for a small launch vehicle, accelerating vehicle production, and removing both geographic and supply chain constraints for volume production. 

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BlueHalo Awarded $1.4B U.S. Space Force Contract to Enable Modernization of Satellite Operations

BlueHalo’s Broad Area Deployable Ground terminal enabling Resilient communication (BADGER) for SCAR (Image Credit: BlueHalo)

ARLINGTON, Va. (BlueHalo PR) — BlueHalo has been awarded a $1.4B contract by the Space Rapid Capabilities Office (SpRCO), a direct reporting unit of the U.S. Space Force.  The award is for the Satellite Communication Augmentation Resource (SCAR) program. This effort will include full lifecycle development from initial design through full rate production. The SCAR program will deliver premier satellite operations capability—maximizing automation, flexibility, and commonality while enabling continuous modernization.

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Feinstein, Rubio Introduce Senate Bill to Create Space National Guard

WASHINGTON (Dianne Feinstein PR) — Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) this week introduced the Space National Guard Establishment Act, a bill to create a Space National Guard. This is the Senate companion to legislation introduced in the House by Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.) last year.

Active-duty space units in 2019 were moved out of the Air Force and placed in the new Space Force upon its establishment, but no corresponding move was made to create a Space Force National Guard component.

Today there are more than 1,000 National Guard members performing the space mission from within the Air National Guard, which creates organizational problems now that the rest of the space enterprise falls under Space Force. This bill does not expand the force, but corrects this misalignment.

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USSF Space Test Enterprise Vision Integrates Test Across Capability Lifecycles

ARLINGTON, Virginia (AFNS) — The Space Force has released its Space Test Enterprise Vision to communicate the service’s intent and provide the amplifying guidance needed to execute the Space Force’s test and evaluation mission. 

“The test vision and the associated test culture it portends are critical elements of the Guardian Ideal and our core values,” said Gen. David D. Thompson, Vice Chief of Space Operations. “While we expect every Guardian to be bold and innovative in pursuit of concepts and capabilities that protect U.S. interests in space, the commitment to mastery of our missions also demands that we be confident in the effectiveness of those capabilities.  Test – integrated test – gives us that confidence.”

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SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches NROL-85 Mission From Vandenberg

Falcon 9 launches the NROL-85 mission from Vandenberg Space Force Base. (Credit: NRO)

CHANTILLY, Va. (NRO PR) — The National Reconnaissance Office successfully launched the NROL-85 mission aboard a reflown SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex-4E located at Vandenberg Space Force Base (VSFB) in California today at 6:13 a.m. Pacific Time. The Falcon 9 reusable rocket booster returned safely to Landing Zone 4 after delivering the national security payload to orbit.

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