Delta IV Launches USAF GPS III Satellite

A ULA Delta IV rocket carrying the GPS III Magellan mission for the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center lifts off from Space Launch Complex-37 at 9:06 a.m. ET. (Credit: ULA)

Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Aug. 22, 2019 (ULA PR) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket carrying the second Global Positioning System III (GPS III) satellite, designated Magellan, for the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center lifted off from Space Launch Complex-37 on August 22 at 9:06 a.m. EDT. This mission marked the 29th and final flight of the Delta IV Medium rocket and the 73rd GPS launch by a ULA or heritage vehicle.

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Delta IV Set to Launch GPS III Satellite on Thursday

Delta IV on the launch pad at Vandenberg. (Credit: ULA)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla., August 20, 2019 (ULA PR) — The ULA Launch Readiness Review was completed today and everything is progressing toward the ULA Delta IV launch carrying the GPS III Magellan mission for the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center.

The mission is set to lift off on Thursday, Aug. 22 from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The 27-minute launch window opens at 9 a.m. ET.

The live broadcast coverage of launch will begin at 8:40 a.m. ET. Live launch updates and webcast are available at: www.ulalaunch.com.

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Aevum Wins USAF Contract to Explore Autonomous Launch Capabilities for Responsive Launch and Space Logistics

Ravn air-launch system (Credit: Aevum)

Huntsville, Alabama – The U.S. Air Force (USAF) has awarded Aevum a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I contract for its fully autonomous launch and space logistics service. Aevum’s unique platform can launch small satellites with response times as low as 180-minutes, measured from mission conceptualization to orbital insertion to data downlink, to any low Earth orbit.

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Rocket Lab to Launch 4 Satellites in Look Ma, No Hands Mission

Electron lifts off with U.S. Air Force satellites. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab’s eighth mission will lift-off in August from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand, carrying a total of four satellites aboard an Electron launch vehicle.

The mission is manifested with satellites destined to begin a new constellation for UNSEENLABS, as well as more rideshare payloads for Spaceflight, consisting of a spacecraft for BlackSky and the United States Air Force Space Command.

The first launch opportunity is no earlier than Friday, Aug. 16 at 12:57 UTC (8:57 EDT). The launch window is open until Aug. 30.

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Blue Origin Files Pre-award Protest Over USAF Launcher Competition

Defense News reports that Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin has filed a pre-award protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) over the U.S. Air Force’s competition for new launch contracts.

Blue Origin is arguing that the current structure of the launch service provider competition may favor incumbents and will perpetuate a duopoly, according to a Blue Origin fact sheet obtained by Defense News.

“As drafted, the LSP [launch service provider] RFP [request for proposals] includes evaluation criteria that are ambiguous and fail to comply with federal procurement statutes and regulations. This subjectivity of the criteria makes it impossible to accurately respond to the RFP,” the fact sheet states.

“To ensure the process maximizes value for the American taxpayer and protects U.S. national security interests in space, it is essential that the Air Force structure the LSP RFP in a way that fosters a fair and level playing field for new entrants.”

The Air Force released a solicitation for the second phase of the LSP competition in May and intends to downselect to two launch providers in 2020. SpaceX, United Launch Alliance, Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman are all slated to vie for the series of contracts, which will be awarded over 2020 to 2024 for launches scheduled through 2027.

Commercial Crew Astronauts, Ground Teams Put Emergency Escape Procedures to Test

An emergency medical technician cares for an astronaut with simulated injuries during a joint emergency escape and triage exercise led by NASA, along with Boeing and United Launch Alliance, at Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on July 24, 2019. The simulation is part of a series in preparation for upcoming crew flights to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. (Credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA led a joint emergency escape and triage simulation with Boeing and United Launch Alliance (ULA) on July 24 at Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida in preparation for upcoming crew flights to the International Space Station. The exercise ranged from astronauts and support teams quickly escaping the launch pad to emergency personnel practicing rescue and life support procedures focused on the safety of the launch site teams.

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John Garvey Takes Over Vector as Jim Cantrell Departs

Vector rocket (Credit: Vector)

UPDATE: Berger reports two Vector employees told him the company laid off all its employees today.

Eric Berger reports that rumors of Jim Cantrell’s departure from the role of CEO at Vector are true amid reports that the launch provider is experiencing financial problems.

A spokeswoman for Vector did not comment [financial problems]. However, she did confirm the company has parted ways with its chief executive: “Jim Cantrell is no longer with Vector effective today. John Garvey has assumed the role of CEO.”

The company has been working on developing its Vector-R vehicle and trying to prepare it for a suborbital flight this summer. In an interview in April, Cantrell told Ars that he hoped to fly an upgraded version, Vector-R B1003, on an orbital flight from the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Alaska before the end of this year. The financial difficulties have reportedly arisen just after Vector received some good news in the form of a launch contract from the US Air Force.

This week, the U.S. Air Force awarded Vector a contract worth $3.4 million to orbit satellites under the Small Rocket Program-Orbital program.

USAF’s Pearl White Cubesats Mission Set to Launch Aboard Rocket Lab Electron Booster

Electron lifts off with U.S. Air Force satellites. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

MAHIA, New Zealand — Pearl White, an Air Force Space Command demonstration program, is set to launch no earlier than August 16th as part of a rideshare aboard a Rocket Lab Electron launch vehicle in summer 2019.  The launch will take place at the Rocket Lab Launch Complex-1 near Mahia, New Zealand.

The program goal is to design, develop, launch and operate two 6U cubesat experimental spacecraft as an on-orbit testbed for emerging technologies in 2019. 

The demonstration will test new technologies including propulsion, power, communications, and drag capabilities for potential applications on future spacecraft. The spacecraft will be placed in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) with a notional altitude of ~540 km and an inclination of ~45 degrees.

The two cubesats were built by Tiger Innovations Inc., which is located in Herndon, Virginia, and are designed for a one-year lifetime.  Tiger Innovations Inc. will operate the spacecraft for the life of the program under the direction and oversight of AFSPC.

Atlas V Launch Set for Thursday

ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the AEHF-4 mission for the U.S. Air Force lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41. (Credit: ULA)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla., Aug. 5, 2019 (ULA PR)) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket is in final preparations to launch the fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) communications satellite for the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center.

The launch is planned for Aug. 8 at Space Launch Complex-41 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Today’s forecast shows a 70 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for launch. The two hour launch window begins at 5:44 a.m. ET.

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Rocket Lab’s August Mission Focused On Building Constellations And Enabling R&D

Electron lifts off with U.S. Air Force satellites. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab, the global leader in dedicated small satellite launch, has today announced its next launch is a mission carrying satellites destined to begin a new constellation for UNSEENLABS, as well as more rideshare payloads for Spaceflight, consisting of a spacecraft for BlackSky and the United States Air Force Space Command.

The mission – named ‘Look Ma, No Hands’ – will lift-off in August from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand, carrying a total of four satellites aboard an Electron launch vehicle.

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NASA Chooses Maxar to Integrate Pollution Monitoring Payload on Commercial Satellite

An artist’s impression of TEMPO on Maxar’s 1300-class satellite platform. (Credit: Maxar Technologies)

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (Maxar PR) — Maxar Technologies (NYSE:MAXR) (TSX:MAXR) today announced that it will integrate and fly NASA’s Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) instrument on a 1300-class satellite in geostationary (GEO) orbit. TEMPO will be the first space-based instrument to provide hourly monitoring of major air pollutants during the daytime across the North American continent at high spatial resolution.

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ULA Delays Atlas V, Delta IV Missions

ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the AEHF-4 mission for the U.S. Air Force lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41. (Credit: ULA)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (ULA PR) — The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V551 rocket carrying the Lockheed Martin-built Advanced Extremely High Frequency 5 (AEHF-5) satellite for the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center is delayed, due to an anomaly during component testing at a supplier which has created a cross-over concern. 

Additional time is needed for the team to review the component anomaly and determine if any corrective action is required to the launch vehicle. Launch of the AEHF-5 mission is now targeted for no earlier than Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019.

AEHF satellites provide highly-secure, jam-proof connectivity between U.S. national leadership and deployed military forces. Atlas V rockets successfully launched the first four AEHF satellites in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2018.

The AEHF-5 launch will mark the 80th Atlas V mission since the inaugural launch in 2002 and the 10th in the 551 configuration. The rocket features a kerosene-fueled common core booster, five solid rocket boosters, the hydrogen-fueled Centaur upper stage and a five-meter-diameter payload fairing.

The ULA Delta IV rocket carrying the GPS III SV02 mission for the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center is delayed, due to an anomaly during component testing at a supplier which has created a cross-over concern. 

Upon further evaluation, additional time is needed to replace and retest the component on the launch vehicle. Launch of the GPS III SV02 mission is now targeted for no earlier than Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019.

Becoming Martians: NASA’s 25-year Plan for Humans to Inhabit the Red Planet

Mars in opposition. [(Credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), J. Bell (ASU), and M. Wolff (Space Science Institute) ]

NPC  Newsmaker Event
Date: November 13, 2018
Time: 10:00 a.m. EST
Location: Bloomberg Room

This event is open only to members of The National Press Club and credentialed press.

WASHINGTON (National Press Club PR) — Humans are on the precipice of becoming an interplanetary species. We earthlings are on our way to becoming Martians. In fact, the future Martians are here on Earth now, training for Mars missions using new technological developments following a strict timeline that will get us there within 25 years.

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