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.

PredaSAR, a Terran Orbital Corporation, Selected for NRO Geospatial Intelligence Contract

BOCA RATON, Fla. (PredaSAR PR) — PredaSAR, a Terran Orbital Corporation, has been selected for contract award under the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) Systems Acquisition Directorate’s Closed Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for Strategic Collection Enhancements (SCE) in the Commercial Radar focus area.

PredaSAR is fielding one of the most technologically advanced commercial Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) systems available in the satellite imaging industry. The PredaSAR constellation will offer robust capabilities to commercial and national security customers, including a flexible and responsive remote sensing platform, low latency, frequent revisit times, and the ability to host secondary payloads.

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SpaceX Receives $102 Million Contract for Military Rocket Cargo Delivery

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has awarded SpaceX a $102 million contract to provide more concrete data on how the company’s reusable Super Heavy/Starship vehicles could be used to rapidly deliver cargo to remote locations on Earth. C4ISRNET reports:

The U.S. Air Force in its fiscal 2022 budget request designated the program one of AFRL’s Vanguard efforts, boosting its profile as a potentially transformational technology. [Program manager Greg] Spanjers told C4ISRNET in an email this week the program represents “a big-bet [science and technology] investment,” noting its designation as a Vanguard effort is a recognition it could offer a “game-changing capability.”

To date, AFRL has awarded several Rocket Cargo contracts for analytics, landing material research, wind tunnel sensors and command-and-control systems development, but this week’s award to SpaceX is the first deal with a launch vehicle provider. According to Spanjers, the lab is engaged with other launch providers and will consider awarding additional contracts later in the program.

Spanjers said the SpaceX work is focused in four areas: collecting data from commercial orbital launches and landings; exploring cargo bay designs compatible with U.S. Transportation Command containers and support rapid loading and unloading; researching landing systems that can operate on a variety of terrain; and demonstrating the heavy cargo launch and landing process.

AFRL Leader Tapped for Space Force Key Acquisition Position

Col. Eric Felt

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFRL PE) — The Air Force Research Laboratory recently announced the assignment of its Space Vehicles Directorate director, Col. Eric J. Felt, to a position with the U.S. Space Force as Deputy Executive Director for the Space Architecture, Science and Technology Directorate at the Pentagon, with an effective date in July.

Felt has led the AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate, located at Kirtland AFB, since July 2018, and serves in a dual-hatted role as commander of the Phillips Research Site, which encompasses military command authority for AFRL’s Space Vehicles and Directed Energy Directorates.

As director, Felt leads a team of more than 1,080 military, civilian and on-site contractors who comprise the nation’s center of excellence for military space science and technology. The directorate focuses on enduring Space Force space missions: communications; position navigation and timing; missile warning; space domain awareness; and space control.

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OneWeb and Hughes Announce Agreement to bring Low Earth Orbit Satellite Broadband Service to India

NEW DELHI/LONDON/GERMANTOWN, Md., 20 January 2022 (OneWeb PR) — OneWeb, the low Earth orbit satellite communications company, and Hughes Network Systems LLC (“Hughes”), an innovator in satellite and multi-transport technologies and networks for 50 years, today announced a strategic six-year Distribution Partner agreement to provide low Earth orbit (LEO) connectivity services across India. The arrangement between OneWeb and Hughes Communications India Private Ltd. (HCIPL), a joint venture between Hughes and Bharti Airtel Limited (“Airtel”),  follows the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the companies in September 2021.

As the leading satellite broadband provider in India , HCIPL is well positioned to deliver services to enterprise and government with OneWeb capacity, especially in areas outside the reach of fibre connectivity. OneWeb will connect towns, villages, and local and regional municipalities in those hardest-to-reach areas, playing a critical role in bridging the digital divide.

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HawkEye 360 Awarded $15.5 Million Contract with Air Force Research Laboratory

Leading radio frequency data and analytics company partners with AFRL’s Space Vehicles Directorate to support integration of commercial space ISR into the warfighting architecture

HERNDON, Va. January 11, 2021 (HawkEye 360 PR) — HawkEye 360 Inc., the world’s leading commercial provider of space-based radio frequency (RF) data and analytics, today announced it has been awarded a three year, $15.5 million Experimental Purpose Agreement (EPA) contract with the Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) Space Vehicles Directorate. Through the agreement, HawkEye 360 will provide radio frequency analytics research, development, and experiments to help the government demonstrate, test and evaluate its hybrid space ISR architecture.

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NM Economic Development Director to Focus on Developing State’s Emerging Aerospace Cluster

Alex Greenberg (Credit: New Mexico EDD)

EDD’s Alex Greenberg Will Focus on Developing Capabilities at Spaceport America, U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and other facilities

SANTE FE, N.M. (NM EDD PR) – Alex Greenberg, a University of New Mexico graduate with a specialty in technology management, has been named Director of the Office of Science and Technology at the Economic Development Department (EDD), Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes announced today.

Greenberg had been serving as EDD’s financial program specialist. Previously he held positions as a Clinical Project Manager in the healthcare industry, and with a biomedical startup company. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of New Mexico and a Master of Business Administration from UNM’s Anderson School of Management.

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AFRL Detects Moon Around Asteroid with Smallest Telescope Yet

By Dr. Jack Drummond
Air Force Research Laboratory

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. — On November 29, 2021, an Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Starfire Optical Range (SOR)* telescope on Kirtland Air Force Base near Albuquerque, New Mexico, recorded an image of asteroid (22) Kalliope, and its natural satellite Linus. A confirming image was taken four nights later. What is unique about these observations is the small size of the telescope used, only 1.5 meters in diameter. 

Normally the purview of large 8 to10-m diameter telescopes on mountain tops in Hawaii or Chile, asteroids are faint to begin with — and their satellites even fainter – orbiting very close to their parent. Detecting them requires large telescopes, since faintness limits are proportional to telescope mirror area and resolution is proportional to telescope diameter. In all cases, adaptive optics (AO) is required to defeat the turbulence of the atmosphere by making the point sources (stars) much smaller and brighter.

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AFRL, Northrop Grumman Demonstrate Solar to Radio Frequency Conversion for Space Solar Power Project

Project Managers James Winter (Air Force Research Laboratory) and Tara Theret (Northrop Grumman) hold models of the photovoltaic and the radio frequency sides of the sandwich tile, while at the Linthicum, Maryland facility, to witness the conversion and beaming experiment. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFRL PR) – The Air Force Research Laboratory’s and Northrop Grumman’s Space Solar Power Incremental Demonstrations and Research (SSPIDR) Project have successfully conducted the first end-to-end demonstration of key hardware for the Arachne flight experiment.

A ground demonstration of novel components for the “sandwich tile” were used to successfully convert solar energy to radio frequency (RF) – a fundamental step required to pave the way for a large-scale solar power collection system in space.

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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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AFRL Celebrates Launch of Smallsat Ascent to GEO Space

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launches on the Department of Defense’s Space Test Program 3 (STP-3) mission from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021. The mission’s Space Test Program Satellite-6 (STPSat-6) spacecraft hosts NASA’s Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) and the NASA-U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Ultraviolet Spectro-Coronagraph (UVSC) Pathfinder. (Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFRL PR) — The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate small satellite named Ascent was launched Dec. 7 from Cape Canaveral, Florida as part of the U.S. Space Force’s Space Test Program-3 mission, aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket.

Ascent is a 12-unit Cubesat conceived and developed within the directorate’s Small Satellite Portfolio at Kirtland AFB, and in partnership with the Space Security and Defense Program.

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AFRL Collaborates with Magdalena Ridge Observatory to Further Space Exploration

The proposed Magdalena Ridge Observatory Interferometer site, which will ultimately be composed of ten 1.4-meter telescopes. The site is managed by the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology located in Socorro, New Mexico. (Credit: NMT)

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFRL) – New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (NMT) astronomers are one-step closer to having their own high-powered window to space and the universe, after receiving congressional funding for the Magdalena Ridge Observatory Interferometer (MROI).

The university will receive $6.2 million in congressional funds to complete the first phase of the anticipated $30 million five-year project to build three telescopes and two scientific instruments of the MROI in Socorro, New Mexico.

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AFRL Selects 10 Universities for Prestigious Satellite Program

Graphic representation of Arachne, the first solar power beaming experiment for the Space Solar Power Incremental Demonstrations & Research Project. (Credit: AFRL)

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFRL PR) – The Air Force Research Laboratory’s University Nanosatellite Program (UNP) has selected 10 universities to participate in the upcoming 2-year partnership to design, fabricate and test small satellites.

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SCOUT Awarded AFWERX SBIR to Revolutionize Space Domain Awareness

Artistic rendering of OVER-Sat observing congestion in orbit. (Credit: SCOUT Inc.)

ALEXANDRIA, Va., November 16, 2021 (SCOUT Inc. PR) — The US Government’s formation of the US Space Force definitively established its commitment to space domain awareness (SDA), but only recently has it cast its focus to commercial innovative SDA. SCOUT Inc. is proud to announce that the Air Force Research Lab, via AFWERX, made a tangible commitment to revolutionary SDA capabilities with a Phase I SBIR contract awarded this month. SCOUT will work under contract to improve detection, tracking, and identification of resident space objects by fusing ground- and space-based sensor data.

SCOUT is supported in this effort by Kayhan Space, another startup focused on space situational awareness and collision avoidance technologies. Eric Ingram, the CEO, and co-founder of SCOUT, spoke of the partnership between SCOUT and Kayhan: “Kayhan Space is a provider of actionable orbital traffic management solutions, and will help us deliver better SDA data even faster.” 

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AFRL Selects Deputy Technology Engagement Officer for Space Science and Technology

Dr. Andy Williams, center, Air Force Research Laboratory Deputy Technology Executive Officer for Space Science & Technology, explains the engineering of the Roll-Out-Solar Array, or ROSA, to U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich during a past visit to AFRL’s Space Vehicles Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. (Credit: AFRL)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, OHIO (AFRL PR) – The Air Force Research Laboratory has selected Dr. Andrew Williams for the Deputy Technology Engagement Officer for Space Science and Technology (D-TEO), overseeing the lab’s responsibility to carry out the U.S. Space Force mission.

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