Defense

June 21, 2012

Air Force officials announce milestone Atlas V launch

by Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket blasts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., June 20, 2012, with a national security payload for the National Reconnaissance Office. This is the 61st launch for ULA and marks the 50th successful launch of an Atlas V and Delta IV Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle.

As part of the Defense Department’s ongoing efforts to maintain assured, affordable access to space through 2030, the Atlas V rocket successfully lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 at Florida’s Cape Canaveral on June 20, Air Force officials said.

“This is an exciting time for the U.S. space launch community, said Scott Correll, the program’s executive officer. “From today’s successful launch of the 50th Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle to the recent success of Space X’s support to NASA with their Falcon 9, it’s clear the commercial space transportation industry is making notable strides.”

The EELV program replaced the existing fleet of launch systems with two families of launch vehicles – the Boeing Delta IV and Lockheed Martin Atlas V – built and operated by the DOD’s prime contractor, United Launch Alliance, Correll said.

An official from the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., explained that the Atlas V is a critical part of a spectrum of government missions.

“Atlas V launches space-based infrared systems, global positioning systems, the defense meteorological satellite program and the advanced extremely high frequency system satellites,” said Col. Bob Hodgkiss, the director of the launch systems directorate. “I’m pleased to report that this year we have also already launched the wideband global sat-com IV aboard a Delta IV, and the Navy’s mobile user objective system satellite 1 aboard Atlas V.”

Because of considerable program costs, which can run as high as several billion dollars per launch, quality assurance and the development of a competitive market are paramount, Air Force officials said.

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., June 20, 2012. Designated NROL-38, the mission is in support of national defense.

“Since the Air Force must by law self-indemnify, we do a very rigorous evaluation of the physical, electrical and radio frequency interfaces between the rocket, the satellite and the ground systems,” Hodgkiss said of the process to determine flight readiness. “My team is the government’s insurance policy, so we need to be sure we have the highest probability of success in one of the riskiest activities the Air Force does.”

On the business side of the program, Hodgkiss said, the program’s primary users, the Air Force, NASA and the National Reconnaissance Office, are developing strategies to infuse competition into space launch as a cost reduction measure.

“We are balancing the commitment we will make to ULA with the potential to reintroduce competition to the program when one or more commercial launch companies have demonstrated to the Air Force they are reliable launch providers,” the colonel said.

Correll asserts that certifying new entrants will potentially enable competition, thereby lowering costs and creating innovation in government payloads such as communications, navigation, weather satellites, and science and national security missions.

“The framework offers multiple paths to on-ramp potential new entrants and part of this strategy requires an entrant to demonstrate at least one launch of a vehicle configured as an EELV-class national security space launch,” he said.

ULA’s next launch and the NRO’s next mission, the Delta IV NROL-15, is scheduled for June 28.

“Our soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen, Coast Guardsmen and intelligence community are dependent upon the war fighting capabilities we enable,” Correll said. “Our priority and focus remain mission success first while controlling costs in this constrained fiduciary environment.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

President proclaims Memorial Day as ‘Day of Prayer’

President Barack Obama May 22 saluted the service and sacrifices of America’s military members–past and present–and proclaimed Memorial Day, May 25, 2015, “as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11 a.m. of that day as a time during which people may unite in prayer....
 
 

Air Force leaders’ Memorial Day message

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III send the following Memorial Day message to the Airmen of the Air Force and their families: To the Airmen of the United States Air Force and their Families: On Memorial Day, Americans pause in solemn remembrance...
 
 

Headlines May 22, 2015

News: Second Marine killed in Hawaii Osprey crash identified - Marine Corps officials have identified the second Marine to die as a result of the May 17 MV-22B Osprey crash as Lance Cpl. Matthew J. Determan of Maricopa, Ariz.   Business: Israel defense exports plunge to seven-year low - Israeli defense sales last year plunged to their...
 

 

News Briefs May 22, 2015

Ukrainian officer hit with third charge in Russia A third charge has been filed against a Ukrainian military officer who has been behind bars in Moscow for nearly a year over the deaths of two Russian journalists in Ukraine. Nadezhda Savchenko, who worked as a spotter for Ukrainian troops fighting separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine,...
 
 
Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

Smart-mortar will help Soldiers more effectively hit targets

Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez Nick Baldwin and Evan Young, researchers with the Armament Research Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, Pennsylvania, discuss the 120mm Guided Enhanced Fragmentation Mortar ...
 
 

Air Force assigns new chief scientist

The Air Force announced the service’s new chief scientist to serve as a science and technology adviser to the secretary of the Air Force and the chief of staff of the Air Force, May 21. Dr. Greg Zacharias will be the 35th chief scientist and is ready to “dive in” to his new role. “I...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>