Space Systems Command’s Front Door Initiative Aims to Detangle Military’s Convoluted Structure for Private Sector

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

To better leverage commercial capabilities, the U.S. Space Systems Command (SSC) has launched a program, the Front Door Initiative, to help companies better navigate the command’s convoluted organizational structure.

“When you guys come to us, you know who to talk to,” said Maj. Adam Bernetta, program manager for SSC’s Space Enterprise Consortium, during a keynote address on Tuesday at the Space Tech Expo in Long Beach, Calif.

Thirty years ago, governments accounted for 90 percent of space activity. With the commercial sector rapidly catching up, the US Space Force (USSF) realized it needs to improve its cooperation with private industry, Bernetta said.

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AFRL’s Cislunar Highway Patrol System Seeks Industry Collaboration

Artist’s conception of the Cislunar Highway Patrol System. (Credit: U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory)

KIRTLAND AFB, New Mexico (AFRL PR) – The Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) Space Vehicles Directorate is seeking partners to design and inform the capabilities of the Cislunar Highway Patrol System (CHPS) satellite, to provide space domain awareness beyond Geosynchronous orbit, in the region of the moon that is experiencing increasing activity.

A draft Request for Proposals was posted last week, on the NSTXL.org website, and companies who are part of the Space Enterprise Consortium (SpEC) are encouraged to submit ideas by the deadline of 11 a.m. MST on April 1, 2022.

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AFRL Uses Expedited Acquisition Process in Latest Spacecraft Contract Award

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFRL PR) — The Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate awarded an $8.4 million contract to Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, Inc. to support the directorate’s Precise flight experiment projected for launch in 2024.

“The Precise flight experiment represents a new orbital regime for AFRL in Very Low Earth Orbit,” said Dr. Rachel Hock-Mysliwiec, Precise program manager. “This experiment builds on more than 50 years of AFRL investigation into the physics of the upper atmosphere.”

Hock-Mysliwiec elaborated that the experiment will study ionization processes in the region of ionized gas, between 90 and 600 kilometers altitude.

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Space System Command’s Launch Enterprise Awards Four Prototype Agreements

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (SSC PR) — Space Systems Command (SSC) is partnering with industry on prototype projects to invest in next-generation rocket engine testing and upper stage resiliency enhancements.

SSC’s Launch Enterprise today awarded FY21 prototype projects for Raptor Rapid Throttling and Restart Testing; Liquid Methane Specification Development and Testing; and Combustion Stability Analysis and Testing to SpaceX for $14.47 million, for Uplink Command and Control for Centaur V to United Launch Alliance for $24.35 million, for Upper Stage Development for Neutron to Rocket Lab for $24.35 million, and for Cryogenic Fluid Management for Glenn Stage 2 to Blue Origin for $24.35 million, under the National Security Space Launch program using the Space Development Corps’ Space Enterprise Consortium (SpEC).

Prototype projects for orbital transfer and maneuver are anticipated for award in early FY22, pending congressional approval of the FY22 budget request;

Northrop Grumman Designs Protected Tactical SATCOM Payload Prototype for U.S. Space Force

REDONDO BEACH, Calif., April 22, 2021 (Northrop Grumman PR) – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has been selected by the U.S. Space Force’s (USSF) Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) to proceed with its ongoing Protected Tactical SATCOM (PTS) Rapid Prototype program, with a flight demonstration of the company’s PTS payload set to occur in 2024.

Selected for the initial award through the Space Enterprise Consortium, this continuation enables Northrop Grumman to proceed with the completion of the detailed design, manufacturing and testing of the payload. The company will also integrate its payload onto a host space vehicle and conduct its on-orbit demonstration.

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General Atomics to Build Electro-Optical Infrared Weather System Prototype for U.S. Space Force

SAN DIEGO, Calif., 04 August 2020 (General Atomics PR) — General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced today that it has been selected for the United States Space Force Electro-Optical Infrared (EO/IR) Weather System (EWS) satellite program under the Space Enterprise Consortium (SpEC). GA-EMS will design and manufacture a prototype spacecraft, integrate the EWS payload and provide on-orbit mission control services to support the collection of theater weather imagery and cloud characterization data for worldwide military operational use.

“In addition to our ongoing Orbital Test Bed programs like the Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols (MAIA) for NASA and Argos 4 for the United States Air Force, GA-EMS is pleased to support critical space missions,” stated Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. “With EWS we will continue to leverage our expertise in developing scalable architectures and volume-efficient packaging, as well as our expanding satellite manufacturing capabilities to rapidly design and deliver an EO/IR satellite solution to meet the proposed EWS launch date in 2022.”

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SMC Awards $309 Million Contracts for Rapid Weather Prototyping Efforts

EWS Notional Distributed Architecture (Credit: SMC EWS Program)

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (SMC PR) — The Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) has awarded three Other Transaction Authority agreements, totaling $309 million, to develop prototypes for the Electro Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) Weather System (EWS) program. The awardees, each a member of the Space Enterprise Consortium (SpEC), are:  

  • Raytheon Technologies
  • General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems Group (subcontractors: EO Vista/Atmospheric & Environmental Research (AER)/Braxton Technologies)
  • Atmospheric & Space Technology Research Associates (ASTRA) (subcontractors: Tyvak/Science & Technologies Corps (STC)/AER/Lockheed Martin)
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