The Utah State University Space Dynamics Laboratory has been awarded contracts by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) worth a combined $1.31 billion for a range of space research and development work.
The $1 billion AFRL Space & Nuclear Advanced Prototypes, Experiments & Technology (SNAPET) Research & Development (R&D) contract covers “essential engineering support and capability in the areas of sensor and system development, modeling and simulation, experimentation, data analysis and sensor and system validations on space vehicles,” the Department of Defense (DOD) announced.
Work on the indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract will be performed in North Logan, Utah and Albuquerque, N.M. The contract runs until Nov. 30, 2026.
Under the $300 million MDA contract, the Space Dynamics Laboratory will perform “research, development, engineering, state of-the-art and proof-of-concept spaced-based sensor systems, and advanced technology research and development,” DOD said.
Work on the cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract will be performed in North Logan, Utah, and Huntsville, Ala. The ordering period is from Nov. 23, 2021, through Nov. 22, 2028.
Satellite to play critical role in tracking and targeting enemy missiles
REDONDO BEACH, Calif., November 10, 2021 (Northrop Grumman PR) – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) recently completed the critical design review of the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) prototype for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA). The review establishes the company’s technical approach for precise, timely sensor coverage to defeat ballistic and hypersonic missiles.
VANDERBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif. (ULA Mission Update) — Everything is progressing toward the ULA Atlas V launch carrying the Landsat 9 mission for NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. The mission is planned to lift off on Mon., Sept. 27 at 11:11 a.m. PDT from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
Live broadcast coverage of launch will begin at 10:30 a.m. PDT on Sept. 27 and will broadcast live on NASA TV. Live launch updates and webcast available at: www.ulalaunch.com
Suborbital launch used to be a sleepy field that rarely attracted much public attention. Let’s face it, atmospheric research and student experiments are not front-page news. Sounding rockets don’t have the majesty and power of a Falcon 9 or Atlas V.
In recent years, exciting new entrants in the field and widespread streaming of launches have made suborbital flights exciting. Last year saw important suborbital flight tests by SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic and Skyrora that garnered worldwide interest.
Colorado’s nine-member Congressional delegation has asked President Joe Biden to suspend the move of the U.S. Space Command from Colorado Springs to Huntsville, Ala., until the administration conducts a full review of a decision made during the waning days of the Trump Administration.
“This move undermines our ability to respond to the threats in space and is disruptive to the current mission. Additionally, significant evidence exists that the process was neither fair nor impartial and that President [Donald] Trump’s political considerations influenced the final decision,” the delegation said in a Jan. 26 letter to the president.
The U.S. Air Force announced the move of the U.S. Space Command from Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs to the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville on Jan. 13, one week before Trump left office and a week after Congress certified the election of Democrat Joe Biden.
Risk reduction milestone paves way for airborne tests this year
ARLINGTON, Va. (DARPA PR) — DARPA and the U.S. Air Force (USAF) today announced successful completion of captive carry tests of two variants of the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) and are ready to proceed to first free-flight testing within the calendar year. The joint Agency and Service effort seeks to develop and demonstrate critical technologies to enable an effective and affordable air-launched hypersonic cruise missile.
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.
Former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin has had a tumultuous time since taking over as undersecretary of defense for research and engineering in February.
In his role as the Defense Department’s chief technology officer, Griffin has been criticized for his efforts to overhaul the Pentagon’s costly and time-consuming development and procurement of new systems through the newly established Space Development Agency (SDA).
Key personnel have departed as critics have attacked Griffin for what they view as his erratic management and decision making. In addition to SDA, he is in charge of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU).
Astra Space is set for the first flight of its new small-satellite launcher on Thursday from Alaska.
The FAA has granted a launch license to the California company for a suborbital flight of Rocket 1 from Launch Pad 2 at the Pacific spaceport Complex — Alaska on Kodiak Island.
A notice to airmen (NOTAM) about the launch has been posted for April 5 at 2000 UTC and ending on April 6 at 0200 UTC (12 to 6 p.m. AKDT /4 to 10 p.m. EDT).
Details are sparse about the company and booster. However, it is believed that the two-stage rocket will be capable of placing a payload weighing up to 100 kg into orbit.
The Alaska Aerospace Corporation, which runs the Kodiak spaceport, has billed the flight as the first of what it hopes will be many commercial launches from the underused facility.
Formerly known as Ventions LLC, Astra Space is operating under a $2 million contract with NASA to develop and flight test a high performance electric pump-fed launch vehicle. The 18-month contract runs through mid-December.
Founded in 2004, the company has been awarded 29 contracts worth nearly $21 million over the past 11 years from NASA, U.S. Air Force, DARPA, Missile Defense Agency and the U.S. Army.
At some point in the next few weeks, the Pacific Spaceport Complex — Alaska will host its first commercial rocket launch. Officials at the Alaska Aerospace Corporation, which runs the spaceport, are hoping the suborbital test flight is the first of many commercial flights from the underused facility.
While officials have not identified the California company conducting the launch, a perusal of the corporation’s board minutes indicate it is almost certainly a small Bay Area startup named Astra Space.
The nuclear missile threat posed by North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has proven to be a lifeline to the Alaska Aerospace Corporation and its little used Kodiak launch facilities.
Twice during the past month, the U.S. Army launched Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile interceptors from the The Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak. The tests were done under an $80.4 million contract with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.
The contract helped revive the struggling agency, which suffered serious damage to its launch facilities in 2014 after a U.S. Army rocket exploded shortly after takeoff. The state-run corporation is eyeing the booming small-satellite market.
One commercial contract that is signed and scheduled for December is with a new space company that cannot now be identified, Campbell said.
Vector Space Systems, an Arizona-based company formerly known as Garvey Spacecraft, has also signed with Alaska Aerospace for test flights of its new Nanosat Launch Vehicle, the Vector-R, in 2018.
A contract that still in negotiation for launches planned in 2018 and 2019, is with Rocket Lab USA, a California-based company that has been in the space business for several years.
Rocket Lab now wants to use Kodiak for launches of its new “Electron” rocket, Campbell said.
Another company in discussions for launches in 2019 is Zero Point Frontiers, based in Alabama, for its 55-foot Xbow Launch Vehicle that will launch small satellites to orbit.
WASHINGTON, DC (Alaska Delegation PR) – Today the Alaska Congressional Delegation praised the announcement by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) that it has awarded a sole source contract to the Alaska Aerospace Corporation (AAC) to support two flight tests of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense Systems (THAAD) at the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska on Kodiak, Alaska.
The contract, which could total up to $80.4 million, will support MDA’s flight test requirements for the 3rd Quarter of Fiscal Year 2017 and will include the site preparation for two THAAD launchers, range communication and instrumentation capabilities, and a Life Support Area. This new development positions the Kodiak launch facility for a bright future in missile defense testing.
There was some good news last week for the Alaska Aerospace Corporation (AAC), which has struggled to find users for the Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska (PSCA) on Kodiak Island.
The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) announced that it would award AAC a contract to support flight tests for the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) at the spaceport. The contract has a five-year base with a single one-year option.
ANCHORAGE, AK (AAC PR) – Alaska Aerospace Corporation (AAC), recognizing strong demand and aerospace industry growth in northeast Alabama, announces the opening of their new office in Huntsville, Alabama. This is the first permanent presence outside of Alaska for the company.
Craig E. Campbell, AAC President and CEO, states “Alaska Aerospace has supported a number of missions for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC) and by opening an office in Huntsville, we will be well positioned to be more responsive to our customers’ future needs.”
A pair of editorials in Florida newspapers have raised concerns about what editors view as a dangerous drift in space policy at both the state and national levels.
The St. Petersburg Times notes that although the Obama Administration has provided NASA with billions of additional funding and reaffirmed his predecessor’s plans to return to the moon, it has not provided a clear reason why:
But the Obama administration has come no closer to explaining a rationale for the moon mission than the Bush administration did. It also has not laid out how the United States would keep the manned space program alive in the five years between when it retires the space shuttle in 2010 and starts flying the next-generation Constellation craft in 2015.