The U.S. Air Force has awarded United Launch Alliance (ULA) a contract modification worth $156.7 million for a Delta IV Heavy launch of a reconnaissance satellite in 2024.
“This modification provides for launch vehicle production services for National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) Launch Mission Three, the last of three planned NRO launch missions under this contract,” USAF said in announcing the contract.
The modification increases the cumulative value of the contract for the three launches from $310,784,574 to $467,537,345. The $156.7 million is about half of what the third launch will cost.
The launch could be the final one for ULA’s Delta IV family of rockets. The company is phasing out use of the booster as it develops the Vulcan booster.
“The Cylons were created by man. They evolved. They rebelled. There are many copies. And they have a plan.”
— Battlestar Galactic
by Douglas Messier Managing Editor
Watching the re-imagined “Battlestar Galactic,” I was never quite sure exactly what the Cylons’ plan was beyond the whole exterminate all humans with nukes thing. In an apparent nod to this lack of clarity, the producers created a two-hour TV movie called, “Battlestar Galactic: The Plan,” to explain it all.
NASA has suffered from a similar lack of clarity over the past week. At a National Space Council meeting last Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence announced it was the Trump Administration’s policy to land astronauts on the south pole of the moon by the presidential election year of 2024 — four years ahead of the current schedule.
Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., (Jan. 19, 2019) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying a critical payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) denoted NROL-71 lifted off from Space Launch Complex-6 on Jan. 19 at 11:10 a.m. PST. The mission is in support of our country’s national defense.
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. Jan. 5, 2019 (ULA PR) – The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy carrying the NROL-71 mission launch date is under review. A new launch date and time will be provided pending the results of additional testing.
“We continue to remedy the technical issues that caused the last scrub of the Delta IV Heavy, and are working with our partners, the National Reconnaissance Office and the U.S. Air Force, to ensure that we fly when it is safe to do so,” said Gary Wentz, vice president of Government and Commercial programs, “we understand that this is a high-priority mission for the nation’s warfighters and we take our commitment to safety and mission assurance seriously.”
UPDATE: Launch scrubbed, reset for Saturday at 8:06 p.m. PST.
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., Dec. 5, 2018 (ULA PR) —A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) will lift-off from Space Launch Complex-6 on Dec. 7 at 8:19 p.m. PT. Designated NROL-71, the mission is in support of our country’s national defense missions.
The following is a list of launches for the remainder of November based on Spaceflightnow.com’s Launch Schedule. The list includes two launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and one launch apiece from Xichang in China, Kourou in French Guiana, and Satish Dhawan in India.
Please check Spaceflightnow’s launch page regularly because launches tend to slip on a regular basis.
Editor’s Note: The SpaceX Falcon 9 launch scheduled for Monday has been postponed five or six days so engineers can conduct additional checks of the booster. The first stage is being flown for the third time.
Launch Vehicle: Long March 3B — SUCCESS Payload: 2 Beidou navigation satellites Launch Time: TBA Launch Site: Xichang, China
Launch Vehicle: Vega Payload: Mohammed VI-B Earth observation satellite Launch Time: 8:42 p.m. EST on 20th (0142 GMT on 21st) Launch Site: Kourou, French Guiana Webcast: http://www.esa.int
Launch Vehicle: PSLV Payload: HySIS hyperspectral imaging satellite Launch Time: TBA Launch Site: Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India Webcast: https://www.isro.gov.in/
Launch Vehicle: Delta 4-Heavy Payload: NROL-71 reconnaissance satellite Launch Time: TBA Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California Webcast: https://www.ulalaunch.com/
Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9 Payload: Spaceflight, Inc. SSO-A rideshare mission Launch Time: TBD Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California Webcast: http://www.spacex.com
This flight will deploy more than 70 spacecraft from approximately 35 different organizations.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — At 3:33 a.m. EDT on Aug. 11, while most of the U.S. is asleep, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida will be abuzz with excitement. At that moment, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, the agency’s historic mission to touch the Sun, will have its first opportunity to lift off.
Launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, Parker Solar Probe will make its journey all the way to the Sun’s atmosphere, or corona — closer to the Sun than any spacecraft in history.
CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla., Aug. 7, 2018 (ULA PR) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy rocket is in final preparations to launch NASA’s Parker Solar Probe from Space Launch Complex-37 on Aug. 11.
NASA selected ULA’s Delta IV Heavy for its unique ability to deliver the necessary energy to begin the Parker Solar Probe’s journey to the sun. After launch, the spacecraft will orbit directly through the solar atmosphere – the corona – closer to the surface than any human-made object has ever gone.
After a three-week break, SpaceX is gearing up for a busy stretch of launches with three coming up in an 11-day period on opposite sides of the country.
The launch campaign kicks off with an early Sunday morning launch from Cape Canaveral. Falcon 9 will carry Telesat’s Telstar 19 VANTAGE communications satellite, which will provide service to China, India, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean.
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Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Program
Technology Maturity, Design Stability, and Production Readiness
All but one (14 of 15) of ULA’s launch vehicle variants—which are based on payload fairing size and number of strap-on solid rocket boosters used—and two variants of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 have flown at least once, demonstrating technology maturity. For design stability and production readiness, the program assesses launch vehicles using Aerospace Corporation’s “3/7 reliability rule.” Once a variant is launched successfully three times, its design can be considered stable and mature. Similarly, if a variant is successfully launched seven times, both the design and production process can be considered stable and mature.