Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Space Alert
Tracking military space policy and satellites
Inside the Air Force - 09/26/2014

Air Force Space Command has a vision for a three-satellite Space-Based Space Surveillance system follow-on constellation, but its plan has not yet made it through the budget process, according to the command's top officer.

Inside the Air Force - 09/26/2014

Lockheed Martin said this week that the navigation payload for the first next-generation Global Positioning System satellite is moving through key acceptance tests that should be completed by the end of the year, with the tests contributing to the planned 2015 delivery of the satellite to the Air Force in 2015.

Inside the Pentagon - 09/25/2014

An investigation by the Defense Department Inspector General found that there were no significant gaps or weaknesses in acquisition policies and procedures for necessary systems engineering, design, quality and safety, also known as mission assurance, dealing with spacecraft and strategic systems.

Inside the Air Force - 09/19/2014

As industry teams announced this week their intentions to participate in the Air Force's advanced rocket engine development program, service officials stressed the urgency of gathering market input and developing an accelerated acquisition plan as soon as this fall.

Inside the Air Force - 09/19/2014

The commander of Air Force Space Command said this week that the service has increased the resources it is allocating toward SpaceX's certification as an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle provider with the goal of having the company eligible to fly national security space launches by the end of the year.

Inside the Air Force - 09/12/2014

The Air Force Research Laboratory's Space Weather Center of Excellence expects that a broad agency announcement issued in the spring could yield, among other things, new approaches for understanding the impact of the space environment on U.S. space assets.

Inside the Air Force - 09/12/2014

The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center is working with other government space agencies to establish a plan to better leverage the benefits of solar electric propulsion in U.S. space systems and hopes to have a plan in place next year.

Inside the Air Force - 09/05/2014

The Air Force Scientific Advisory Board has been directed to examine the way forward for remotely piloted aircraft as the service looks beyond current operating environments to more heavily defended airspace.

Inside the Air Force - 09/05/2014

Although the Air Force's new Space Fence is being designed to operate primarily in low-earth orbit, a pair of studies the service issued last winter, prior to the program's entry into the engineering and manufacturing development phase, reveal that the system can provide valuable medium-earth orbit observation without compromising its primary mission.

Inside the Air Force - 09/05/2014

SpaceX has, to date, completed eight of the 19 engineering review boards required for certification of its Falcon 9 rocket booster as an approved national security space launch provider, and the Air Force continues to eye a December 2014 deadline for completing the company's certification process.

Inside the Air Force - 09/05/2014

As the Space Fence program moves forward through the engineering and manufacturing development phase, the Air Force's primary logistical focus is on preparing the radar system's future site at Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands for groundbreaking early next year.

Inside the Pentagon - 09/04/2014

U.S. Strategic Command has recently entered into a new space situational awareness data-sharing agreement with a European organization that provides weather and climate-related satellite products to users.

Inside the Air Force - 08/29/2014

The next several months of setting schedules, allocating resources and preparing designs for review are crucial to building the foundation for the Air Force's next-generation Space Fence program and assuring that the effort has a strong start, the service's Space Fence program manager told Inside the Air Force this week.

Inside the Air Force - 08/29/2014

Lockheed Martin announced this week a partnership with an Australia-based company to build a ground-based, electro-optical space situational awareness system in Western Australia that Lockheed says could complement the capabilities the company is on contract to provide the Air Force through the next-generation Space Fence.

Inside the Air Force - 08/29/2014

The Air Force is using funds provided by Congress in fiscal year 2013 to accelerate the delivery of enhancements to its Space-Based Infrared System ground architecture by two years -- an upgrade that will allow the service to better exploit the data being collected by the constellation.

Inside the Air Force - 08/29/2014

The Air Force is looking for potential industry sources to upgrade its Wideband Global Satellite Communication ground terminals to improve their anti-jamming capability.

Inside the Navy - 08/25/2014

The third Mobile User Objective System satellite is on track for a January launch despite a delay due to a hardware deficiency discovered during thermal vacuum testing, according to a Lockheed Martin executive.

Inside the Air Force - 08/22/2014

Raytheon, the prime contractor for the Air Force's next-generation Global Positioning System ground control segment anticipates delivering the first of three software blocks in November of 2015, almost a year later than originally planned, under new schedule thresholds the company and the service established this summer.

Inside the Air Force - 08/15/2014

The Air Force is investigating the implications of a potential production ramp-up of the Delta IV launch vehicle, and early results indicate that the engine's producer, the United Launch Alliance, is capable of supporting an increase.

Inside the Air Force - 08/15/2014

The Space and Missile Systems Center said this week that its decision to split a sensor sustainment contract into two separate efforts -- reversing a strategy aimed at consolidating that work -- was driven by a determination that the two distinct mission areas represented by the contract would be better served separately than together.

Inside the Air Force - 08/15/2014

The Air Force has awarded task orders for what will likely be the first hosted payload to be launched under the service's Hosted Payload Solutions contract, a service spokesman told Inside the Air Force this week.

Inside the Air Force - 08/15/2014

A top State Department official said this week that he has high confidence that a July 23 test conducted by the Chinese military was, in fact, a test of a missile designed to destroy satellites in low Earth orbit.

Inside the Air Force - 08/08/2014

With several ongoing program and mission-area analyses in process and not enough near-term funding to dedicate to sweeping architecture changes, the space sector may fall victim to the spending bow wave that Pentagon leaders warn will hit the department in the 2020s if sequestration and other budget cuts continue to push new investments to the right.

Inside the Air Force - 08/01/2014

In response to congressional concerns that the Air Force may not be pursuing technology upgrades to later-model Space Based Infrared System satellites as aggressively as it should be, the service reported recently that significant near-term changes to the program of record could delay the delivery of later satellites by at least two years and cost an additional $400 million to $900 million to implement.

Inside the Air Force - 08/01/2014

After being delayed three times due to ground system problems and bad weather, the Air Force this week launched three space situational awareness satellites from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Inside the Air Force - 07/25/2014

After winning a $914.7 million contract to build the Air Force's next-generation space object tracking system, Lockheed Martin has hit the ground running in order to keep the pace with an aggressive development schedule.

Inside the Air Force - 07/25/2014

The Air Force on July 24 was on track to launch two previously classified geosynchronous space situational awareness satellites designed to serve as on-orbit watchmen and as deterrents to nations that may be considering launching counterspace satellites.

DefenseAlert - 07/22/2014

The Air Force is considering whether it should increase production of its Delta IV launch vehicle in light of rising tensions with Russia that could pose a threat to space access.

Inside the Air Force - 07/18/2014

The Air Force this week released a request for proposals for a competitive Evolved Expendable Launch-vehicle class mission. Whether that launch ends up being truly competitive depends largely on launch provider SpaceX achieving certification in time to be eligible for a contract award.

Inside the Air Force - 07/18/2014

The Air Force wants permission to reprogram $100 million to support an additional Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle-class mission that it expects will be open to competition from qualified companies, according to an omnibus reprogramming document submitted to Congress last week.

Inside the Air Force - 07/18/2014

The Air Force announced this week that all three of SpaceX's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle-class qualifying launches will count toward certification of the company's Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

DefenseAlert - 07/15/2014

After awarding contracts to three prime contractors earlier this month, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has announced the industry teaming arrangements for Phase 1 of its new XS-1 Experimental Spaceplane program.

DefenseAlert - 07/15/2014

The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee has supported an array of Pentagon weapons programs in its $549.3 billion military spending bill for fiscal year 2015, including the Air Force's fleet of A-10 aircraft; the Army's combat vehicle industrial base; and the Navy's modernization of USS George Washington (CVN 73) and fleet of EA-18G Growlers.

DefenseAlert - 07/11/2014

Launch provider SpaceX announced July 11 that the Air Force has deemed all three of the company's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle-class qualifying launches to be successful.

DefenseAlert - 07/10/2014

The Air Force on July 10 awarded contracts to the first pool of potential hosted payload providers, selecting 14 companies to compete for future task orders that could be worth as much as $495 million.

Inside the Air Force - 07/04/2014

The Air Force is asking the U.S. Federal Claims Court to dismiss SpaceX's lawsuit against the U.S. government, calling the complaint "amorphous" in a June 30 filing.

Inside the Air Force - 07/04/2014

Northrop Grumman and Masten Space Systems have received individual awards for Phase 1 of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's XS-1 Spaceplane Program, according to two June 27 award notices.

Inside the Air Force - 07/04/2014

Raytheon confirmed this week that it will not protest the Air Force's award of a $914 million Space Fence contract to Lockheed Martin.

Inside the Air Force - 07/04/2014

The Air Force wants to rapidly prototype a range of systems capable of more easily fuzing data from commercial and civil space-based infrared sensors to support military missions including battlespace awareness and target indication, according to a June 24 broad agency announcement from the Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities (TENCAP) office.

Inside the Air Force - 07/04/2014

A long-running competitive acquisition process to select a contractor capable of assisting the National Air and Space Intelligence Center in its unique mission has been pushed back by several months because of "external delays" over the last year.

Inside the Air Force - 06/27/2014

After putting all continuity of operations exercises on hold to reduce costs in fiscal year 2013, the 50th Operations Group at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado has already completed four exercises in 2014, including a recent test of the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program's backup operations system.

Inside the Air Force - 06/27/2014

The Air Force this week awarded Lockheed Martin a $1.86 billion contract to finish building the fifth and sixth Space-Based Infrared Systems Geostationary Orbit satellites.

DefenseAlert - 06/23/2014

The Air Force has offered Raytheon an "extended debriefing" to shed light on the service's selection of competitor Lockheed Martin to build the next-generation Space Fence, according to a Raytheon spokesman.

DefenseAlert - 06/20/2014

Just days after the CEO of United Launch Alliance defended the use of the Russian-built RD-180 rocket engine for national security space launches, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has asked the Pentagon whether the price the United States pays for the first-stage engines is excessive.

Inside the Air Force - 06/20/2014

The demand for space simulation in virtual training exercises is growing faster than the infrastructure and personnel needed to support that demand, according to the director of one of the key Air Force space simulation programs.

Inside the Air Force - 06/20/2014

The Air Force is considering adopting a multiyear procurement strategy for future Next-Generation Global Positioning System satellites, but according to a recent report, such a move would not be justified until at least fiscal year 2016.

Inside the Pentagon - 06/19/2014

Two days after announcing the signing of private contracts for next-generation rocket propulsion concept studies, United Launch Alliance CEO Michael Gass said the company has tasked the Russian manufacturer of the RD-180 engine to speed up production to mitigate against potential supply disruptions resulting from strained United States-Russia relations. He also said the company has the license and capacity to build the engine domestically, if needed.

Inside the Air Force - 06/13/2014

U.S. Africa Command will have much-needed communications coverage over Western Africa within the next two months -- and likely sooner -- due to an innovative satellite communications contract the Air Force's Space and Missile Systems Center awarded late last week.

DefenseAlert - 06/06/2014

The Air Force's Space and Missile Systems Center this week initiated the first phase of a two-part process to determine whether other companies can compete against prime contractor Lockheed Martin to build the next-generation Global Positioning System satellite vehicle and navigation payload.

DefenseAlert - 06/05/2014

The Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program has increased the number of remaining planned launches through the end of the next decade from 89 to 100, a 12 percent increase -- expected to cost $2.5 billion -- made in response to revised satellite vehicle requirements from Air Force Space Command.