Air Force aims for reliable launch services in spite of dramatic changes in commercial, military space
In the future, the U.S. Air Force will launch satellites of all different sizes for customers with varying degrees of risk tolerance.
The Launch Service Agreement fits the Air Force’s broader goal to get out of the business of “buying rockets” and instead acquire end-to-end services from companies.
Congress expects to receive from Hyten in June a “warfighting concept of operations” for space. One of the topics will be how to prepare the military for space operations.
The Air Force creating a budget line for small launch is a “very good thing for the industry,” said Steve Nixon, vice president of strategic development at Stratolaunch.
Elon Musk: "This vehicle opens up a whole new class of payloads and it’s up to customers what they want to launch.”
The Air Force kicked off the sixth competitive launch service solicitation under the current phase of the EELV program.
Competition from SpaceX and a projected slump in the demand for defense missions complicates the outlook for ULA, analysts say.
The SBIRS GEO Flight 4 satellite flew aboard a U.S. Air Force Atlas 5 rocket. This was the 75th launch carried out by the Atlas 5.
The SBIRS satellites are equipped with powerful scanning and staring infrared sensors that collect data for use by the U.S. military to detect missile launches.
Pentagon auditors found gaps in EELV quality assurance management that “could increase program costs, delay launch schedules, and increase the risk of mission failure.”
A new national industrial strategy unveiled by the British government Nov. 27 includes 50 million pounds ($67 million) to support development of new launch sites and launch vehicles.