COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.–The head of Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) wants an automated flight safety system for launch ranges in place by next year.
Air Force Gen. John Hyten said Tuesday the service plans to shut down the range at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., next year for a couple of months because it has to move the Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC). Hyten said he’ll work with industry partners to get that automated flight safety system certified for use in time, and if not in time, shortly after. JSpOC is U.S. Strategic Command’s (USSTRATCOM) space surveillance network.
“The goal of the command is to be open for business with an automated flight safety system during that period,” Hyten told an audience here at the National Space Symposium (NSS).
Hyten said AFSPC has been talking about the need for an automated flight safety system as far back as 2008, but the launch business environment at the time “didn’t afford it.” Now the marketplace is robust with multiple providers, Hyten said now is the time. Hyten also said the new Vulcan next generation launch system announced by United Launch Alliance (ULA) on Monday and its responsive launch capability will not work without an automated system.
ULA is a partnership between Lockheed Martin [LMT] and Boeing [BA].