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Raumfahrt - U.S. Space Force successfully Pegasus rocket launches first tactically responsive launch mission

12.06.2021

U.S. Space Force to launch ‘space domain awareness’ satellite on Pegasus rocket

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The mission named TacRL-2 is a technology demonstration satellite for the Space Force’s tactically responsive launch program

WASHINGTON — A U.S. Space Force mission scheduled to launch June 13 on a Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket is a monitoring satellite intended to provide “space domain awareness,” chief of space operations Gen. John Raymond said June 10.

The mission named TacRL-2 is a technology demonstration satellite for the Space Force’s tactically responsive launch program, an effort to figure out ways to shrink the timelines for planning space missions. Raymond said the satellite was developed in less than a year and the launch provider was given 21 days notice to get ready for the flight. 

“A year ago I challenged our acquisition organization to develop a capability in tactical timelines, integrate it onto a launch vehicle and launch it, and let’s see how fast we can do it,” Raymond said on a webcast event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations.

He said the satellite was built by a new organization called “Space Safari” modeled after the Air Force’s Big Safari program started during the Cold War for special-mission aircraft. 

“In less than a year they took satellite components off the shelf, married them up with a satellite bus that was off the shelf, and put them together in a space domain awareness satellite,” said Raymond. The launch was awarded to Northrop Grumman under the Orbital Services Program-4.

TacRL-2 will be air-launched on a solid-fueled Pegasus XL rocket released from a Lockheed L-1011 TriStar carrier aircraft. The mission is scheduled to fly to low Earth orbit approximately at 1:11 PM Pacific from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California.  The Space Force awarded Northrop Grumman a $28 million contract for this launch.

What is Space Safari?

Space Safari, the office that handled the development of the TacRL-2 satellite, was recently stood up by the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Special Programs Directorate.

It was created to respond to “high-priority, urgent space needs,” SMC said in a statement. “Space Safari uses mature technology and existing production lines to quickly repurpose and integrate space assets from multiple organizations.”

Col. Dennis Bythewood, SMC’s director of special programs said: “Where most space vehicles take years to deliver, and launches are similarly planned years in advance, this ability to quickly integrate and launch will result in greatly enhanced capabilities for America’s Space Force.”

Quelle: SN

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Update: 13.06.2021

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Quelle:Noozhawk

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U.S. Space Force successfully launches first tactically responsive launch mission

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The U. S. Space Force successfully launched the Tactically Responsive Launch-2 (TacRL-2) mission on a Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base on June 13 at 4:11 a.m. EDT, delivering a technology demonstration satellite to Low Earth Orbit.

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The U. S. Space Force successfully launched the Tactically Responsive Launch-2 (TacRL-2) mission on a Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base on June 13 at 4:11 a.m. EDT, delivering a technology demonstration satellite to Low Earth Orbit.

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The U. S. Space Force successfully launched the Tactically Responsive Launch-2 (TacRL-2) mission on a Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base on June 13 at 4:11 a.m. EDT, delivering a technology demonstration satellite to Low Earth Orbit.

Pegasus, the world’s first privately-developed commercial space launch vehicle, is an air-launched threestaged rocket carried aloft by Northrop Grumman’s specially modified “Stargazer” L-1011 aircraft. Shortly after its release from Stargazer, at approximately 40,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean, Pegasus ignited its first stage, beginning its successful flight carrying TacRL-2 to its intended orbit.

Tactically responsive launch, as a concept, seeks to introduce speed, agility, and flexibility into the launch enterprise in order to respond to dynamic changes in the space domain or an operational theater and insert or replace assets on orbit much faster than standard timelines to meet emerging combatant command requirements.

“Today’s successful launch is a clear signal to our strategic competitors that we will not cede access to space,” said Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond. “When I challenged the Space and Missile Systems Center about a year ago to demonstrate a responsive space capability, they accepted and delivered! The team presented an integrated Space Domain Awareness satellite ready for launch in record time; what normally would have required two to five years, took 11 months.

“The space domain is defined by speed,” Raymond said. “And with this effort, we demonstrated the kind of speed it will take to win. We executed a ‘21-day call-up’ to get a satellite on orbit – pulling the payload, mating it with the rocket and integrating the combined package onto the aircraft. Agile, responsive capability development, combined with our ability to rapidly launch and insert capabilities into space where we want, when we want, will deny our competitors the perceived benefits of beginning a conflict in, or extending a conflict to, space.”

The TacRL-2 mission was executed by the Small Launch and Targets Division within the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Launch Enterprise, in partnership with SMC’s Space Safari Office, and launched a satellite built and operated by the Air Force Research Laboratory and Space Dynamics Laboratory.

During a six-month standby period, a notice to launch was executed and the satellite launched several weeks later, exercising Concept of Operations, tactics, techniques and procedures required of a responsive launch.

“I am very pleased with the success of this tactical launch demonstrating rapid and responsive technologies, and what it means for the continuous Space Force support to the warfighter,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Rose, chief, Small Launch and Targets Division. “The team completed the launch vehicle design, build, integration and testing in only four months from contract award, and then executed the launch within a few weeks of call-up.”

TacRL-2 was the first mission supported by SMC’s new Space Safari Program Office. Space Safari rapidly integrates mature technology and systems to quickly respond to specialized space needs.

For TacRL-2, Space Safari successfully demonstrated their end-to-end approach to tactically responsive missions by acquiring and integrating the space vehicle, launch vehicle, payloads and ground elements in record time, as well as conducting on-orbit planning and operator training.

This mission was a first-of-its-kind effort that has already identified several constraints and lessons learned. The USSF will use this information to improve upcoming TacRL missions with the Space Safari office planned to launch in 2022 and 2023. Tactically Responsive Launch is the first step toward the USSF acquiring a tactical space mobility and logistics capability to support combatant command’s future requirements for tactical spacepower.

Quelle: USSF United States Air Force

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Update: 15.06.2021

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Northrop Grumman Successfully Launches Pegasus XL Rocket for the US Space Force

Company executes design, integration and testing of launch vehicle in less than four months

CHANDLER, Ariz. – June 13, 2021 – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) successfully launched the Tactically Responsive Launch-2 (TacRL-2) payload into orbit for the U.S. Space Force (USSF), using the company’s Pegasus XL rocket. TacRL-2 was launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base.

The USSF’s tactically responsive launch concept seeks to introduce speed, agility, and flexibility into the launch enterprise in order to respond to dynamic changes in the space domain or an operational theater and insert or replace assets on orbit much faster than standard timelines to meet emerging combatant command requirements.

Northrop Grumman Successfully Launches Pegasus XL Rocket for the US Space Force___1
Northrop Grumman successfully launched the TacRL-2 payload into orbit for the U.S. Space Force's Space and Missile Systems Center using the company’s Pegasus XL rocket.

Pegasus, the world’s first privately-developed commercial space launch vehicle, is an air-launched three-staged rocket carried aloft by Northrop Grumman’s specially modified "Stargazer" L-1011 aircraft. Shortly after its release from Stargazer, at approximately 40,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean, Pegasus ignited its first stage, beginning its successful flight carrying TacRL-2 to its intended orbit.

“This Pegasus launch was a clear demonstration of our team’s ability to provide rapid and responsive operational needs,” said Rich Straka, vice president, launch vehicles, Northrop Grumman. “Our team was able to execute the design, integration and testing of the TacRL-2 launch vehicle in less than four months from contract award.”

This is the 45th launch of Pegasus, which uses solid propulsion to offer maximum responsiveness by enabling launch to a wide variety of orbits on short timelines. This capability provides customers with the flexibility to operate from virtually anywhere on Earth with minimal ground support requirements. Pegasus has launched more than 90 satellites into low earth orbit from five separate launch sites in the United States, Europe and the Marshall Islands.

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.

Quelle: Northrop Grumman Corporation

 

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