COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – SpaceX’s April 14 launch of a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, marked the first launch from a U.S. Air Force range since a Raytheon-General Dynamics venture took over launch range support duties earlier in April.

In November, the Air Force awarded the industry team dubbed Range Generation Next LLC a contract potentially worth $2 billion to support the service’s two main launch ranges.

LISC — short for Launch and Test Range System Integrated Support Contract — consolidates three contracts that previously supported Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The 10-year effort is part of a broad strategy by the Air Force to consolidate many of its ground support contracts as operating budgets shrink and the possibility of the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration lingers.

Range Generation Next formalized the transition and took responsibility for support of the ranges the week of April 6, said Jane Chappell, vice president of business development and strategy for Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services of Dulles, Virginia.

Dave Wasjgras Raytheon
Dave Wajsgras, president of the Raytheon Intelligence Information and Services. Credit: Raytheon

Dave Wajsgras, president of the Raytheon Intelligence Information and Services, said the handover was nearly seamless.

“When you own it, you better be 100 percent certain you understand what you’re doing,” he said during an interview here at the Space Symposium. “We believe the capabilities to managing these locations really improves operating efficiencies.”

Wasjgras declined to detail the exact savings the contract brings the Air Force but said even “moderate” predictions of savings are “meaningful” to the service.

The Range Generation Next team includes Raytheon Technical Services of Reston, Virginia; General Dynamics of Falls Church, Virginia; ASRC Aerospace Corp. of Greenbelt, Maryland; ARES Corp. of Burlingame, California; Schafer Corp. of Arlington, Virginia; and Primus Solutions of Greenbelt. Previously, a team of Raytheon and PAE supported Cape Canaveral; InDyne supported Vandenberg; and Exelis provided sustainment at both sites.

Mike Gruss covers military space issues, including the U.S. Air Force and Missile Defense Agency, for SpaceNews. He is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.