The SBIRS GEO Flight 3 spacecraft transmitted its first images back to Earth March 17, a milestone known as “first light.”
The Delta 4 carrying the Wideband Global Satcom 9 satellite lifted off at 8:18 EDT.
An open system is evaluating "how innovative are people being,” said Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch.
Orbital ATK expects a “go/no-go decision” by early next year on an Air Force-funded program to develop a new large launch vehicle.
The launch was scheduled for March 8, carrying WGS-9, the Air Force’s next Wideband Global Satcom satellite.
During his campaign, President Trump called for more airplanes, more ships and more soldiers, but said little about bolstering the space capabilities these forces rely upon.
“We have to have an honest discussion about acquisitions,” said Gen. David Goldfein, the Air Force chief of staff.
The company will continue to support its GPS 2A and 2F satellites in orbit.
The Air Force is considering taking over an existing geostationary orbit weather satellite operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to help fill a gap in coverage over the Indian Ocean.
Heather Wilson, a retired Air Force captain, advocated for new space programs to go to a New Mexico base.
SBIRS GEO-3 launched successfully aboard a ULA Atlas 5 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Jan. 20.
The launch of the Lockheed Martin-built satellite was originally scheduled for October but was pushed back to investigate an engine issue.
The National Reconnaissance Office is set to take over some weather missions from the Air Force after the House of Representatives voted Thursday to give the agency “the acquisition programs necessary to meet the national security requirements for cloud characterization and theater weather imagery."