Test Pilot School Graduates First Space Test Fundamentals Class

By 1st Lt. Christine Saunders
U.S. Air Force Test Center Public Affairs

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — The U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School graduated the first-ever Space Test Fundamentals class April 6, 2021, at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Fifteen enlisted, officer, civilian Airmen and Guardians represent the first class dedicated to testing within the newly contested domain of Space.

Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, the U.S. Space Force chief of space operations, was on-hand to give the graduation address.

“You were handpicked from a pool of over 160 applicants, not only to attend this inaugural Space Test course, but also to help us build this course and define its future as the initial Space Test cadre,” said Raymond. “You were the “Beta testers” of the course itself, simultaneously studying hard and developing the future of our space test education and training program.”

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AFRL Breaks Ground on State of the Art Space Environment Laboratory

A rendering of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Skyway Technology Laboratory that will be constructed on Kirtland AFB, N.M. The AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate held a groundbreaking ceremony March 16. The construction contractor is QA Engineering and architectural contractor is WHPacific, both of Albuquerque, N.M. The lab is projected for occupancy in early 2022. (Rendering by WHPacific)

By Jeanne Dailey
U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. — The Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate broke ground on a new facility named the Skywave Technology Laboratory on March 16. The 3,500 square foot, $3.5 million lab will be located in a remote area on Kirtland Air Force Base.

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Newly Named Asteroids Reflect Contributions of Pioneering Astronauts

In this image from 2003, retired astronaut Joan Higginbotham took a break from training for the STS-116 mission and is shown in front of a NASA T-38 trainer. (Credits: NASA)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — Twenty-seven asteroids have been named in honor of African American, Hispanic, and Native American astronauts, and one cosmonaut, who have helped expand our horizons beyond Earth and to inspire the next generation of space explorers.

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SpaceX, ULA Win U.S. Air Force Launch Contracts

The U.S. Air Force has awarded contracts to SpaceX and United Launch Alliance (ULA) for two launches each under its National Security Space Launch Phase 2 agreements.

SpaceX will receive $159,721,445 to launch the USSF-36 and NROL-69 missions from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The launches are expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2023.

ULA will receive $224,290,000 for launching the USSF-112 and USSF-87 missions from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launches are expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2023.

Last year, SpaceX and ULA won U.S. Air Force contracts to launch defense payloads for 2022-27.

DoD Inspector General to Investigate Decision to Locate US Space Command Headquarters n Huntsville

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Pentagon’s Office of Inspector General has announced an investigation into the U.S. Air Force’s controversial decision to locate U.S. Space Command’s headquarters at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala.

In a letter to the U.S. Air Force secretary, the office said it would investigate whether the decision process:

  • “complied with DoD and Air Force policies during the location selection process;
  • used objective and relevant scoring factors to rank the six candidate locations; and
  • calculated the cost and other scoring factors accurately and consistently among the six candidate locations.”
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Colorado Congressional Delegation Wants Biden to Suspend U.S. Space Command Move to Huntsville

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

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.

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John Roth to Serve as Acting Secretary of the Air Force

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — John P. Roth will serve as the Acting Secretary of the Air Force as of Jan. 20, until the President nominates and the Senate confirms a permanent replacement.

Roth succeeds Barbara Barrett, who served as the 25th Secretary of the Air Force from Oct. 18, 2019, until Jan. 20.

Roth has served as the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management and Comptroller since January 2018. From May 2019 to December 2020, he also performed the duties of Under Secretary of the Air Force, a role he held from June to October 2019.

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NASA Advancing Global Navigation Satellite System Capabilities

Deployment of Bobcat-1 from the International Space Station. (Credit: Nanoracks)

by Danny Baird
​NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation program office

NASA is developing capabilities that will allow missions at high altitudes to take advantage of signals from Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) constellations — like GPS commonly used in the U.S. These signals — used on Earth for navigation and critical timing applications — could provide NASA’s Artemis missions to the Moon with reliable timing and navigation data. NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) program is developing the technologies that will support this goal.

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NASA Perseveres Through Pandemic to Complete Successful 2020

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In 2020, NASA made significant progress on America’s Moon to Mars exploration strategy, met mission objectives for the Artemis program, achieved significant scientific advancements to benefit humanity, and returned human spaceflight capabilities to the United States, all while agency teams acted quickly to assist the national COVID-19 response.

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Orbit Fab Secures Additional Seed Round Funding for its Gas Stations in Space

SAN FRANCISCO (Orbit Fab PR) — Orbit Fab, the Gas Stations in Space company, announced that it has raised a seed extension round led by Munich Re Ventures, the strategic corporate venture capital arm of Munich Re Group, one of the world’s leading providers of reinsurance, primary insurance, and insurance-related risk solutions. 

The funding will help Orbit Fab achieve its vision of an in-orbit ecosystem for satellite servicing, national security, and space commercialization. Orbit Fab recently announced that it will launch its first fuel tanker, Tanker 001 Tenzing, in the coming year.

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Two USAF Facilities in Florida Designated as Space Force Bases

Vice President of the United States Mike Pence looks on as the signage is revealed re-designating Patrick Air Force Base to Patrick Space Force Base at a ceremony at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Dec. 9, 2020. (Credit: U.S. Space Force)

By Charles Pope
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) —  Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Patrick Air Force Base were formally re-designated Dec. 9, as facilities central to the mission of the U.S. Space Force during a ceremony rich in symbolism that further confirmed the nation’s commitment to operating in and defending space.

Vice President Mike Pence announced the decision to shift the designation of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and Patrick Air Force Base to Patrick Space Force Base during a formal ceremony at Cape Canaveral.

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Chuck Yeager, Famed for Breaking the Sound Barrier, Dies at 97

U.S. Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett tweeted:

Brig Gen (ret) Chuck Yeager (@GenChuckYeager) was a barrier-breaking aviation legend who left an outsized impact on the @USAirForce & @SpaceForceDoD. My heartfelt condolences to his loved ones and those he inspired.

The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine on the passing of Gen. Chuck Yeager:

“Today’s passing of Gen. Chuck Yeager is a tremendous loss to our nation. Gen. Yeager’s pioneering and innovative spirit advanced America’s abilities in the sky and set our nation’s dreams soaring into the jet age and the space age. He said, ‘You don’t concentrate on risks. You concentrate on results. No risk is too great to prevent the necessary job from getting done.’

“Among many firsts in more than 60 years in aviation, Chuck was the first man to fly at the speed of sound, and his achievements rival any of our greatest firsts in space. Not content to rest on his laurels, he went on to break his own record and travel at Mach 2.44. But even before that he was serving his country heroically in World War II. Long after he became a legend in his own time, he continued to serve his country through the military and later in his ongoing work to test new aircraft.

“Chuck’s bravery and accomplishments are a testament to the enduring strength that made him a true American original, and NASA’s Aeronautics work owes much to his brilliant contributions to aerospace science. As a young naval aviator, I was one of many around the world who looked up to Chuck Yeager and his amazing feats as a test pilot. His path blazed a trail for anyone who wanted to push the limits of human potential, and his achievements will guide us for generations to come.”

Space Force Launches SpaceWERX Accelerator

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFNS) — AFWERX kicked-off its inaugural Accelerate event Dec. 7 with an exciting announcement on the formation of SpaceWERX, a new entity that will focus on technologies for the United States Space Force.

“As we approach the first anniversary of our newest Service, the United States Space Force, we also celebrate the opening of the first space-focused innovation hub at Los Angeles Air Force Base,” said Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett.

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Chief of Space Operations Discusses Need for Outreach to Partners, State of Space Force

 

Gen. John “Jay” Raymond. Chief of Space Operations, U.S. Space Force, Commander, U.S. Space Command, provides remarks at the USSPACECOM Change of Command. (Credit: Lewis Carlyle)

By Jim Garamone
DOD News

The importance of space to the modern world cannot be underestimated, and the U.S. Space Force will be key to defending the ultimate “high ground,” said Space Force Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, the chief of space operations for the new service.

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Winners Announced for US/UK Partnered International Space Pitch Day

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (USSF SMC PR) –  U.S Space Force’s Space And Missile Systems Center,  (SMC) along with its partners have announced the winners of International Space Pitch Day (ISPD). Small tech companies and start-ups from multiple countries had the opportunity to pitch their ideas in front of several U.S., U.K. and N.A.T.O. allied defense leaders on Nov. 16, 2020.

During the event, ten start-ups successfully secured same-day contracts and a slice of the $1M pot, to fast-track the development of their innovations. This marks the first time two nations have come together to award defense contracts based around a pitch-style event and the first time two nations have awarded joint defense innovation contracts to foreign companies.

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