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SMDR for Mon., August 28, Vol. 17, Issue 18

DARPA, SOCOM Providing Secondary Payloads For Air Force ORS-5 Satellite Launch

The Orbital ATK [OA] Minotaur IV rocket that will launch the Air Force Operationally Responsive Space 5 (ORS-5) space-tracking satellite is also carrying two secondary payloads from Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and one from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), government and industry officials said Aug. 24.The Minotaur, whose lower stages use three motors from decommissioned…

Lockheed, Raytheon Win Air Force Contracts For New Nuclear Cruise Missile

Lockheed Martin [LMT] and Raytheon [RTN] received contracts Aug. 23 to mature designs for the Long Range Standoff Weapon (LRSO), a replacement for the U.S. Air Force’s aging, nuclear-armed, air-launched cruise missile (ALCM).Each company has been awarded a 54-month contract valued at about $900 million for the program’s technology maturation and risk reduction (TMRR) phase. When the contracts…

Boeing, Northrop Win Air Force Contracts For New ICBM

Boeing [BA] and Northrop Grumman [NOC] have edged out Lockheed Martin [LMT] for contracts to mature designs for the Ground-based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), the replacement for the Air Force’s aging, nuclear-armed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the service announced late Aug. 21."We are moving forward with modernization of the ground-based leg of the nuclear triad," Air Force Secretary Heather…

Aerojet, Orbital Join Northrop Grumman’s GBSD Team

Aerojet Rocketdyne [AJRD] and Orbital ATK [OA] both announced late Aug. 21 that they have joined the Northrop Grumman [NOC] team that will compete against Boeing [BA] to develop the U.S. Air Force’s Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD).Northrop Grumman spokesman Tim Paynter said that “both Aerojet Rocketdyne and Orbital ATK are providing propulsion solutions.” While Orbital ATK declined to discuss its specific…

Navy Conducts First LRASM Free Flight

The U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin [LMT] conducted the first free flight launch of the company’s Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) from an Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber on Aug. 17 during a test over Point Mugu Sea Range, Calif., the service said Aug. 18.This was the first end-to-end functionality test of the LRASM, testing the cruise…

Air Force Lab Tapping Six Firms For Aerospace Vehicle Research

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is in the midst of awarding contracts to six companies to develop cutting-edge aerospace vehicles.The lab has already announced three recipients in August: Aurora Flight Sciences, Lockheed Martin [LMT] and Northrop Grumman [NOC].The companies will “conduct research to develop, demonstrate, integrate and transition new aerospace vehicle technologies and systems that will provide affordable,…

NASA Exploring Next-Generation Space Communications Satellites

With NASA gearing up to launch its last Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-M), the agency has begun studying what its next generation of space communications satellites might look like.One feature NASA definitely wants is dramatically higher data-transfer rates than it gets from the TDRS constellation, which was conceived in the 1970s, said Badri Younes, deputy…

Air Force Studying Possible Commercial Role For Surplus ICBM Motors

The U.S. Air Force plans to finish a study later in 2017 on the potential impact of changing existing law to allow surplus intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) motors to be used on commercial space launches, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a new report Aug. 16While the Department of Defense and NASA use such…

NASA’s Newest Orion Crew Capsule Powered Up For First Time

The Orion crew capsule that will be the first to fly aboard NASA’s new Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket has been powered up for the first time, Orion prime contractor Lockheed Martin[LMT] announced Aug. 22.The event, which took place Aug. 11 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, “was the first time the vehicle management…

Air Force’s X-37B Spaceplane Might Fly Again In September

The next launch of the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B unmanned reusable spaceplane will occur “no earlier than September,” launch vehicle provider SpaceX said Aug. 14.The Air Force had previously indicated that the launch would occur “no earlier than August,” but it cautioned that the launch date was “still in the process of being manifested on the range…