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.


 
 

 

Headlines July 30, 2014

News: Software to power F-35 running as much as 14 months late¬†- Software needed to operate Lockheed Martin’s F-35 jet, the Pentagon’s costliest weapons system, may be as much as 14 months late for required flight testing, according to a Pentagon review.   Business: Lockheed will turn on JLTV production line In August; 6-D truck...
 
 

News Briefs July 30, 2014

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,197 As of July 29, 2014, at least 2,197 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,819 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Tom Reynolds

F-35B successfully completes wet runway, crosswind testing

Lockheed Martin photograph by Tom Reynolds F-35B aircraft BF-4, piloted by Lockheed Martin Test Pilot Dan Levin, starts down the runway as part of wet runway and crosswind testing at Edwards AFB, Calif. In an important program ...
 

 
boeing-chinook

Boeing delivers first U.S. Army multiyear II configured Chinook

Boeing July 29 delivered the first multiyear II configured CH-47F Chinook helicopter to the U.S. Army one month ahead of schedule. The delivery was celebrated in a ceremony at the production facility in Ridley Township, Penn. ‚...
 
 
Army photograph by SSgt. Angela Stafford

Engineers developing safer, more accurate tracer round

Army photograph Tracer rounds enable the shooter to follow the projectile trajectory to make aiming corrections. However, the light emitted by these rounds also gives away the position of the shooter. Engineers at Picatinny Ars...
 
 
NASA photograph by Carla Thomas

Katherine Lott awarded NASA Armstrong employee scholarship

NASA photograph by Carla Thomas Katherine Lott, the recipient of the 2014 NASA Armstrong Employee Exchange Council Joseph R. Vensel Memorial Scholarship, is congratulated by NASA Armstrong center director David McBride. Flankin...
 




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>