Defense Department Undersecretary for Research and Engineering Mike Griffin and his deputy, Lisa Porter, have resigned from their posts effective June 10 to jointly pursue an unidentified opportunity in the private sector, Breaking Defensereports.
Griffin, who previously served as NASA administrator, was brought on board in February 2019 to overhaul the Pentagon’s costly and time-consuming research, development and procurement systems through the newly established Space Development Agency (SDA) and other measures.
In an effort to support its industrial based during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) has announced its intention to award 12 small satellite rideshare launches to six companies.
The Defense Space Strategy (DSS) identifies how DoD will advance spacepower to enable the Department to compete, deter, and win in a complex security environment characterized by great power competition.
– Unfettered access to and freedom to operate in space is vital to our Nation’s security, prosperity, and scientific achievement. Ensuring the availability of space-based capabilities is fundamental to establishing and maintaining military superiority across all domains and to advancing U.S. and global security and economic prosperity.
Scheduled for Q3 2020, the mission will be Rocket Lab’s first launch from U.S. soil
LONG BEACH, Calif., April 29, 2020 (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab, a space technology company and the global leader in dedicated small satellite launch, has rolled an Electron launch vehicle out to the Launch Complex 2 pad at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Wallops, Virginia for the first time. The milestone is one of the final steps ahead of Rocket Lab’s first launch from Launch Complex 2 – a dedicated mission in partnership with the Department of Defense’s Space Test Program and the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Small Launch and Targets Division.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif., April 10, 2020 (VOX Space PR) — VOX Space, the Virgin Orbit subsidiary which provides responsive and affordable launch services for the U.S. national security community, has been selected to launch three dedicated missions for the U.S. Space Force (USSF), delivering multiple spacecraft to orbit for the Department of Defense (DoD) Space Test Program-S28 (STP-S28). This launch service contract — awarded by the USSF Rocket Systems Launch Program (RSLP) Office in Albuquerque, NM — is the first task order under the Orbital Services Program-4 (OSP-4) Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract.
By 2nd Lt. Kristen Shimkus U.S. Space Force Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — United States Space Force officials formally declared initial operational capability and operational acceptance of the Space Fence radar system, located on Kwajalein Island in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, March 27, 2020.
Space Fence provides significantly improved space surveillance capabilities to detect and track orbiting objects such as commercial and military satellites, depleted rocket boosters and space debris in low, medium, and geosynchronous Earth orbit regimes.
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (U.S. Space Force PR) — The 50th Space Wing remains committed to maintaining space superiority year-round by continuing its essential missions to ensure it remains the ‘Master of Space.’
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Airman 1st Class Brice Brewington, 4th Space Operations Squadron extremely high frequency satellite systems operator is still contributing to the United States Space Force’s mission.
“It’s critical we continue the mission during trying times,” Brewington said. “Although there is a pandemic here on Earth, there’s no pandemic in space and our adversaries aren’t going to stop trying to gain superiority from us any time soon.”
WASHINGTON, March 20, 2020 (NASA PR) — To protect the health and safety of the NASA workforce as the nation responds to coronavirus (COVID-19), agency leadership recently completed the first assessment of work underway across all missions, projects, and programs. The goal was to identify tasks that can be done remotely by employees at home, mission-essential work that must be performed on-site, and on-site work that will be paused.
“We are going to take care of our people. That’s our first priority,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “Technology allows us to do a lot of what we need to do remotely, but, where hands-on work is required, it is difficult or impossible to comply with CDC guidelines while processing spaceflight hardware, and where we can’t safely do that we’re going to have to suspend work and focus on the mission critical activities.”
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (RAND Corporation PR) — To meet the goals of the U.S. Space Force most space activities in the Department of Defense should be moved into the new service, according to a new report from the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation. Moreover, it will be critical that the Space Force clearly define and clarify its space warfighting mission.
As the United States stands up the Space Force as a service within the Department of the Air Force, RAND was asked to assess which units to bring into the Space Force, analyze its career field sustainability and draw lessons from other defense organizations. The report focuses on effectiveness, efficiency, independence and sense of identity for the new service—the first created in the United States in 72 years.
As space has become a war-fighting domain, the Defense Department (DOD) faces challenges in assessing how its satellites can survive threats against them, erecting a Space Fence to better track satellites and debris in Earth orbit, and upgrading the Global Positioning System (GPS), according to a new report from the director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E).
“The DOD intends to invest at least $100 billion in space systems over the next decade, and we are not alone,” the report stated. “We therefore must thoroughly understand how our systems will perform in space, particularly when facing manmade threats,” Robert F. Behler wrote in the 2019 annual report.
“Yet, the DOD currently has no real means to assess adequately the operational effectiveness, suitability, and survivability of space-based systems in a representative environment,” he added. (Download full report)
LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (USAF SMC PR) — The United States Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) and its mission partner, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), successfully deployed the Department of Defense (DoD) Space Test Program Satellite-4 (STPSat‑4) from the International Space Station at 11:20 p.m., Jan. 28, 2020.
Continuing our look at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 Report to Congress, we examine how China is seeking to shape the governance of space activities. [Full Report]
by Douglas Messier Managing Editor
China’s actions in asserting sovereignty over the disputed South China Sea could serve as a model by which that nation would claim extraterrestrial resources and consolidate its control over key space assets, a new report to the U.S. Congress warned.
“Contrary to international norms governing the exploration and commercial exploitation of space, statements from senior Chinese officials signal Beijing’s belief in its right to claim use of space-based resources in the absence of a clear legal framework specifically regulating mining in space,” according to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 report.
The Department of Defense (DOD) needs to create a comprehensive plan for developing a hybrid military-commercial system that will handle wide-band communications, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The 2017 defense authorization act required that GAO review DOD’s ongoing assessment of alternatives (AOA) for future wide-band services. GAO found the department conducted a comprehensive assessment in line with best practices that included input from all stakeholders.