Thursday, July 24, 2014
Space Alert
Tracking military space policy and 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.

DefenseAlert - 06/02/2014

The Air Force has awarded a much-anticipated development contract for Space Fence, choosing Lockheed Martin over Raytheon to build the next-generation space situational awareness system.

Inside the Air Force - 05/30/2014

Despite its ability to make some predictions about the nature of the space environment, the Air Force does not know the true scope and character of most of the objects that occupy low Earth orbit -- and it will not know that information until it has implemented a modernized space situational awareness infrastructure.

Inside the Air Force - 05/30/2014

For three years the Air Force has tried to defund its Operationally Responsive Space office in favor of taking the effort's principles of rapid space capability development and applying them throughout all of its space programs.

Inside the Air Force - 05/30/2014

As part of a larger move to significantly upgrade its Space Situational Awareness infrastructure, the Air Force is changing the way it manages its space observation assets and giving all responsibility for that management to the Space and Missile Systems Center.

DefenseAlert - 05/23/2014

The Senate Armed Service Committee's version of the fiscal year 2015 defense authorization bill includes provisions that would prohibit the Air Force from retiring any legacy E-3 battle management aircraft or transferring MC-12 spy planes.

Inside the Air Force - 05/23/2014

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -- Air Force officials have said they are committed to developing a follow-on weather satellite system in the near-term, but some in industry are concerned that if the service does not act soon, it will find itself with a capability gap at the end of the decade.

Inside the Air Force - 05/23/2014

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -- The Air Force should have a plan in process to better utilize its on-orbit Space-Based Infrared System satellites within the next few months, the service's top space official said this week.

Inside the Air Force - 05/23/2014

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -- Lockheed Martin's space technology research wing is developing a ground-based network of telescopes that can see objects as small as 50 centimeters in geostationary orbit. The technology is part of the company's bid to take over operation of the Air Force's two ground observatories in Hawaii and New Mexico.

Inside the Pentagon - 05/22/2014

The State and Commerce departments jointly released language last week that would deregulate the export of most commercial, scientific and civil satellites, along with their parts and components.

DefenseAlert - 05/20/2014

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -- The Air Force's top space official wants the service to pursue the production of a fully domestic, next-generation rocket engine.

DefenseAlert - 05/20/2014

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -- The United Launch Alliance has not yet received any firm indication that its supply of RD-180 engines to power its Atlas V launch vehicle will be cut off, the company's president confirmed on May 19.

DefenseAlert - 05/18/2014

The Air Force's sixth Global Positioning System IIF satellite was boosted into orbit on Friday night and should be operational within about 30 days, according to service officials.

Inside the Air Force - 05/16/2014

The Air Force Research Lab's Space Weather Center of Excellence is asking for industry and academic proposals to advance its understanding of the impact of the space environment on Air Force systems.

DefenseAlert - 05/13/2014

The uncertainty surrounding the future of the Atlas V's Russian-built RD-180 engine and an escalating need for the United Launch Alliance to lower its costs in order to meet rising launch competition have pushed ULA to consider the implications of scaling down from two launch vehicle families to just one, a top Boeing space executive told reporters on May 13.

DefenseAlert - 05/09/2014

The U.S. Federal Claims Court on May 8 rescinded an earlier injunction that prevented U.S. government agencies and the United Launch Alliance from doing business with the Russian company that supplies rocket engines for ULA's Atlas V launch vehicle.

Inside the Air Force - 05/09/2014

The U.S. Federal Claims Court confirmed this week that a preliminary injunction restricting purchases from NPO Energomash, a Russian company that supplies engines for United Launch Alliance rockets, does not prohibit U.S. government agencies from conducting such transactions directly with ULA.

Inside the Air Force - 05/09/2014

House lawmakers moved this week to reject funding for a follow-on weather satellite program and instead fund the launch of the Air Force's last remaining legacy weather satellite, which has been in storage since it was built more than 20 years ago.

Inside the Air Force - 05/09/2014

Smaller budgets and increasing threats have created an environment at the Space and Missile Systems Center where risk is more acceptable and the need for new technology is urgent, according to the center's executive director.

DefenseAlert - 05/07/2014

A proposed House Armed Services Committee bill would shift $6.8 billion among weapon system investment accounts in the Pentagon's fiscal year 2015 budget request and boost modernization spending by a total of $1.5 billion.

DefenseAlert - 05/05/2014

The House Armed Services Committee outlined its budgetary handiwork this week in the panel's full mark of the fiscal year 2015 defense authorization bill, laying out acquisition program reductions and increases.

Inside the Air Force - 05/02/2014

The U.S. Federal Claims Court has issued a preliminary injunction preventing the United Launch Alliance and the Air Force from making any new purchases from NPO Energomash, the Russian company that supplies ULA's Atlas V rocket engine.

Inside the Air Force - 05/02/2014

House lawmakers are pushing the Air Force to begin developing a new liquid propulsion rocket engine in fiscal year 2015 to replace the Russian-made RD-180 engine that's used to power one of the service's primary launch vehicles, the Atlas V.

DefenseAlert - 04/29/2014

ATK and Orbital Sciences, two major players in the defense industry's relatively limited space systems sector, announced April 29 that they will merge into a single company.

DefenseAlert - 04/28/2014

Launch provider SpaceX has filed suit against the Air Force in U.S. Federal Claims Court, contending that a sole-source, block-buy contract signed last year with the United Launch Alliance is unlawful.

DefenseAlert - 04/25/2014

SpaceX president and CEO Elon Musk announced on April 25 that the company plans to protest the Air Force's five-year, block-buy of 36 Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle rocket boosters from the United Launch Alliance -- a deal that was signed last December.

Inside the Air Force - 04/25/2014

A future Space Based Infrared System may be disaggregated and commercially hosted and could be operational as soon as 2025, according to a solicitation to industry issued this week.

Inside the Air Force - 04/25/2014

As they wait for the Air Force to award a long-anticipated contract for its next-generation Space Fence, competitors Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are wrapping up a series of risk-reduction activities designed to explore the full slate of capabilities the new system could bring to the service.