Stratolaunch Announces Research Contract with U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory

Stratolaunch Roc approaches runway 12-30 at the Mojave Air and Space Port. (Credit; Douglas Messier)

MOJAVE, Calif., January 25, 2022 (Stratolaunch PR) – Stratolaunch, LLC is pleased to announce a research contract with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

Stratolaunch, under partnership with Booz Allen Hamilton, is on contract with AFRL to examine and assess the feasibility of hypersonic flight tests of a wide range of Air Force experiments and payloads on a frequent and routine basis.

Stratolaunch supports national security objectives for hypersonic offensive and defensive weapons development through the design, manufacture, and operation of a fleet of reusable hypersonic aerospace vehicles air-launched from its globally deployable carrier aircraft, Roc. The company plans to augment existing Department of Defense flight test resources through affordable, commercially contracted, rapid turnaround hypersonic flight testing for the Department of Defense and its prime contractor partners.

“Our goal is to provide affordable and routine access to the hypersonic flight environment,” said Dr. Daniel Millman, Chief Technology Officer for Stratolaunch. “We look forward to sharing lessons learned from this collaboration with AFRL, yielding powerful and practical research results benefiting the nation.”

About Stratolaunch

Stratolaunch’s mission is to advance high-speed technology through innovative design, manufacturing, and operation of world-class aerospace vehicles. For the latest news and information, visit www.stratolaunch.com and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

FTC Sues to Block Lockheed Martin Corporation’s $4.4 Billion Vertical Acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc.

Agency Seeks to Prevent World’s Largest Defense Contractor from Eliminating Last Independent U.S. Missile Propulsion Provider and Further Consolidating Markets Critical to National Security and Defense

WASHINGTON (FTC PR) — Today, the Federal Trade Commission sued to block Lockheed Martin Corporation’s $4.4 billion proposed vertical acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc, the last independent U.S. supplier of missile propulsion systems. Aerojet supplies advanced power, propulsion, and armament systems, which are critical components for the missiles made by Lockheed and other defense prime contractors. The agency’s complaint alleges that if the deal is allowed to proceed, Lockheed will use its control of Aerojet to harm rival defense contractors and further consolidate multiple markets critical to national security and defense. This is the agency’s first litigated defense merger challenge in decades.

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Virgin Orbit Launches 7 Payloads into Orbit

Cosmic Girl after takeoff from the Mojave Air and Space Port. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

MOJAVE, CALIFORNIA, January 13, 2022 (Virgin Orbit PR) — Virgin Orbit (Nasdaq: VORB), the responsive launch and space solutions company, confirmed it successfully deployed into orbit all 7 customer satellites onboard its LauncherOne rocket during today’s Above the Clouds mission.

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NASA Releases Autonomous Flight Termination Unit Software to Industry

The NASA Autonomous Flight Termination Unit. (Credits: NASA)

WALLOPS, Va. (NASA PR) — NASA has provided an advance release of its NASA Autonomous Flight Termination Unit (NAFTU) software code to the launch industry, a critical milestone toward the final certification of NAFTU, which is on-track for February 2022.

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Blue Origin Joins Pentagon’s Rocket Cargo Program

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill., Dec. 29, 2021 (USTRANSCOM PR) — U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) entered into its third cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA), on December 17, 2021, with Blue Origin to explore the possibility of someday using rockets to transport cargo and people.

“Today, industry is energetically shaping space into a practical transportation mode–a trustworthy complement to our traditional global mobility options,” explained Vice Admiral Dee Mewbourne, Deputy Commander, USTRANSCOM. “Not every operation will call for logistics through space, but when we need to respond faster, or assure access in challenging environments, we recognize that space now offers a toolkit, not just a concept. At USTRANSCOM, we want our understanding of space transportation’s potential to keep pace with the technical and operational realities that are being built now.”

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Building Towards Third Commercial Launch, Virgin Orbit Completes Final Launch Rehearsal

Virgin Orbit team completing final technical rehearsal of LauncherOne R5 for January flight. (Credit: Virgin Orbit)

MOJAVE, Calif. (Virgin Orbit PR) — Yesterday, Virgin Orbit, which has announced a planned business combination with NextGen Acquisition Corp. II (“NextGen”) (NASDAQ: NGCA), completed a full wet dress rehearsal of its air-launched LauncherOne satellite delivery service, taking the integrated system through a full run of procedures to verify the health of the system and the preparedness of the team.

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AFRL Announces Winners of Space University Research Initiative Funding Opportunity

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, OHIO (AFRL PR) – The Air Force Research Laboratoryvia its basic research office, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, announced December 17, the winners of the newly established Space University Research Initiative (SURI) program – a first step in improving the transition of critical concepts from academia into revolutionary new military technologies for the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force (USSF).

“Our way of warfare depends on space superiority and AFRL has a long history of research and development in support of this domain. With the recent standup of the USSF, along with the emergence of U.S. Space Command and new energy in the commercial space sector, we have exciting opportunities to modernize the way we lead and manage S&T,” wrote AFRL Commander, Maj. Gen. Heather Pringle in her 2021 Commander’s Intent.

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Biden Nominates Frank Calvelli to Serve as USAF Assistant Secretary for Space Acquisition

WASHINGTON (White House PR) — Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate the following individual to serve in a key role:

  • Frank Calvelli, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition, Department of Defense

Frank Calvelli, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition, Department of Defense

Frank Calvelli is a senior leader in Booz Allen Hamilton’s national security program, working on space and intelligence initiatives. Prior to joining Booz Allen Hamilton in 2021, he had a 34-year career with the Central Intelligence Agency, having spent over 30 years assigned to the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) – a joint Intelligence Community/Department of Defense organization responsible for designing, building, launching, and maintaining America’s intelligence satellites.

From July 2012 to October 2020, he was the Principal Deputy Director of the NRO, where he provided overall day-to-day management of the organization and oversaw a large portfolio of space activities that included satellite and ground system acquisition, systems engineering, and satellite mission operations.

During his government career, Calvelli received several awards, including the Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Service, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the CIA Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal, and the NRO Distinguished Performance Medal.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree in computer science from the State University of New York at Potsdam, and an M.B.A. from Loyola University Maryland. He is married to Melissa Calvelli and has four children. 

Stratolaunch Announces Research Contract with Missile Defense Agency

Stratolaunch Roc approaches runway 12-30 at the Mojave Air and Space Port. (Credit; Douglas Messier)

MOJAVE, CA – December 8, 2021 – Stratolaunch, LLC is pleased to announce a research contract with the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). The company plans to augment existing Department of Defense flight test resources through affordable, commercially contracted, rapid-turnaround hypersonic flight testing for the Department of Defense and its prime contractor partners.

“We’re excited to provide MDA with a threat-representative and threat-replicating target that allows them to understand how to engage and intercept hypersonic threats,” said Dr. Daniel Millman, Chief Technology Officer of Stratolaunch.

The Stratolaunch team is eagerly preparing to complete its next set of Roc carrier aircraft test flights. The team also continues to make tremendous strides in building its first two Talon-A test vehicles: TA-0 and TA-1. TA-1 will start its power-on testing by the end of year, keeping the company on track to begin hypersonic flight testing in 2022 and to deliver services to government and commercial customers in 2023.

Talon A hypersonic vehicle (Credit: Stratolaunch)

Launched from Stratolaunch’s Roc carrier aircraft, the Talon-A vehicles are rocket-powered, autonomous, reusable testbeds carrying customized payloads at speeds above Mach 5. This capability enables routine access to the hypersonic flight environment, which is critical for scientific research, technological development, and component demonstration.

About Stratolaunch

Stratolaunch’s mission is to advance high-speed technology through innovative design, manufacturing, and operation of world-class aerospace vehicles. For the latest news and information, visit www.stratolaunch.com and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

NRL/NASA Experiment Launched to Study Origins of Solar Energetic Particles

The UltraViolet Spectro-Coronagraph (UVSC) Pathfinder undergoes inspection after the successful completion of its thermal vacuum test at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. The front, gold-colored, aperture shows the multiple external occulters that will block direct light from the solar disk. The occultation allows the faint solar corona to be observed at Lyman-alpha wavelengths. The UVSC instrument sits on a transport cart, which is not part of the flight package. (Credit: U.S. Navy)

By Paul Cage
U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

WASHINGTON  –  A joint-U.S. Naval Research Laboratory/NASA experiment prepares to investigate the origins of Solar Energetic Particles (SEPs) that could affect Navy satellites and harm personnel during future crewed missions to the moon and beyond.

Researchers will use a new instrument, the Ultraviolet Spectro-Coronagraph Pathfinder (UVSC Pathfinder) to try to understand the origins of these particles, how they’re generated close into the sun to provide accurate space weather forecasting when these events happen.

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Space Test Program 3 Launch Update, Now Targeted for Dec. 7

Conceptual image of the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration payload transmitting optical signals. (Credits: NASA)

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla. (NASA PR) — The Dec. 6 launch of a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 551 rocket carrying the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Space Test Program 3 (STP-3) mission has been scrubbed. The team repaired the ground storage system but will require additional time to verify the sample integrity of the fuel prior to tanking operations.

Launch of the mission – which hosts NASA’s Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) and the NASA-U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Ultraviolet Spectro-Coronagraph (UVSC) Pathfinder – is now scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 7, at 4:04 a.m. EST.

NASA TV live launch coverage will start approximately 35 minutes before launch on Dec. 7, at 3:30 a.m. EST:

https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive

Exploring Together, NASA and Industry Embrace Laser Communications

Illustration of STPSat-6 with the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) payload communicating data over infrared links. (Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

By Katherine Schauer
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

GREENBELT, Md. — Our televisions and computer screens display news, movies, and shows in high-definition, allowing viewers a clear and vibrant experience. Fiber optic connections send laser light densely packed with data through cables to bring these experiences to users.

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Biomanufacturing: Coming Soon to a Galaxy Near You?

DARPA’s B-SURE program aims to develop fundamental understanding of microbial capabilities for bioproduction in space.

ARLINGTON, Va. (DARPA PR) — The DoD has a role in orbital and lunar missions as defined by the US Space Force (USSF) Space Capstone Publication1. In this document, USSF notes the “inherent value of the space domain and the tremendous influence space has on U.S. prosperity and security.” There is a critical DoD need for the continued development and future expansion of orbital manufacturing to enable and ensure supply chain resiliency, sustained technological superiority, and asset security and repair for current and future operations. To meet this unique challenge, DARPA announced today that it was taking an initial step to explore and de-risk manufacturing capabilities that leverage biological processes in resource limited environments with its Biomanufacturing: Survival, Utility, and Reliability beyond Earth (B-SURE) program.

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AAC Clyde Space Wins Order for U.S. DoD Satellite Mission Led by Aegis Aerospace

UPPSALA, Sweden (AAC Clyde Space PR) — AAC Clyde Space AB, a leading new space company, has won an order from U.S. Aegis Aerospace to supply its Starbuck power systems and battery solutions worth 500,000 USD (approx. 4.5 MSEK) for a satellite mission carried out on behalf of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).

The mission, the STPSat-7 led by Aegis Aerospace, is a 150 kg satellite that will host research and technology demonstration payloads for the Department of Defense Space Test Program. It will operate in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

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NASA Invites Public to Share Launch of Laser Communications Demonstration

Conceptual image of the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration payload transmitting optical signals. (Credits: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA is inviting the public to take part in virtual activities and events ahead of the launch of the agency’s Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) mission. Launch is scheduled for 4:04 – 6:04 a.m. EST on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 551 rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida.

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