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Technology Cost and Complexity Killing U.S.

July 23, 2014
By George I. Seffers

DARPA director describes a global shift in the technology environment that poses a national threat.

Army, Navy Hardware Influence Air Force Satellite Links

July 11, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

When the U.S. Air Force needed a new secure satellite communications system, one company was able to show up at the starting line with an 80 percent solution based on an existing product line serving the Army and the Navy.

Lockheed Martin Awarded $1.86 Billion SBIRS Contract

June 25, 2014

The U.S. Air Force Space Command's Space and Missile Systems Center awarded a $1.86 billion contract to Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Sunnyvale, Calif., for production of the fifth and sixth Space Based Infrared System geosynchronous missile-warning satellites. SBIRS is the next-generation strategic missile-warning system replacing the 1970s Defense Support Program constellation. SBIRS continuously delivers global, overhead, persistent, taskable infrared surveillance capabilities to meet 21st-century demands for early warning of missile launches, while simultaneously supporting other critical missions including missile defense, technical intelligence and battle space awareness. The SBIRS objective constellation consists of four GEO satellites, two highly elliptical earth orbit payloads and associated ground infrastructure. The fifth and sixth satellites will replenish on-orbit satellites in the constellation in order to maintain the required operational mission capabilities. The SBIRS program is led by the Infrared Space Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. The contract award realized more than $1 billion in savings as a result of the block-buy contracting approach and a range of planned production and management efficiencies, according to an Air Force announcement.

Lockheed Receives Re-Entry System Contract

June 6, 2014

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co., King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, has been awarded a $452 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for re-entry system/re-entry vehicles (RS/RV) subsystem support. The acquisition provides sustaining engineering, maintenance engineering, aging surveillance, modification of systems and equipment, software maintenance, developmental engineering, production engineering, and procurement of the MMIII RS/RV subsystem and related support equipment. Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, Hill AFB, Utah, is the contracting activity (FA8214-14-D-0002).
 

Lockheed Awarded Space-Based Infrared Systems Funds

May 23, 2014

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Sunnyvale, California, has been awarded a $20 million modification (P00004) to FA8810-13-C-00001 for acceleration effort in support of the production of Space-Based Infrared Systems (SBIRS) Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) 5&6 satellites. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $346,849,435. The contract modification is for planning and production parts including hinges, valves, structures and special test equipment to support the SBIRS GEO 5/6 satellite production. The Space and Missile System Center (SMC), Los Angeles Air Force Base, is the contracting activity.

NASA Explores Making Planets Right Here On Earth

May 7, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

NASA scientists at Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, reproduced the processes that occur in the atmosphere of a red giant star and lead to the formation of planet-forming interstellar dust.


China and Russia Pose an Array of Dangers to the West

June 1, 2014
By Rita Boland

China and Russia represent two of the most robust, comprehensive concerns to worldwide stability. Almost every major geostrategic threat—cyber attack, nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, capable military forces, political influence, economic power, sources of and high demand for energy—is resident in those two countries that often find themselves at odds with the United States and its allies.

Modernizing Nuclear Bomber Command and Control

May 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

U.S. Air Force officials are working to replace by 2019 aging command and control terminals that are part of the U.S. Air Force’s nuclear bomber mission. The new terminals will communicate with advanced satellite constellations and also will add capabilities not in current systems.

The Global Aircrew Strategic Network Terminal (Global ASNT—pronounced global assent) is a ground-based, three-increment program that provides persistent, survivable and redundant command and control (C2) communications to the U.S. Air Force strategic bomber fleet. The terminals also provide a C2 capability for the tankers and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft supporting the nuclear bomber mission. It is a part of the Minimum Essential Emergency Communications Network (MEECN) that passes messages from national command authorities—the president and senior leaders—to nuclear forces. 

The program will provide 45 fixed communication terminals for sites such as wing command posts, along with 45 transportable terminals to support dispersed operations. The first increment of the program will provide advanced extremely high frequency (AEHF) communications compatible with the new AEHF satellite constellation and will replace legacy Military Strategic Tactical Relay (MILSTAR)-compatible terminals. The AEHF constellation will be the military’s primary satellite system for highly protected communications following the launch of the fourth and final satellite in 2017.

The new AEHF terminals are required because of projected end-of-life issues with the MILSTAR satellite constellation and looming obsolescence of the currently fielded terminals. “It replaces unsustainable legacy systems. Some of the systems it replaces are getting toward the end of their life cycle, and they’re difficult to maintain,” says Lt. Col. Kenneth Decker, USAF, Global ASNT program manager. “It’s like when your car gets to the point where it costs too much to maintain it.”

NASA Considers Manned Mission to Asteroid

December 31, 2013
By Rachel Lilly

NASA could send a team of astronauts into space to explore an asteroid located close to the Earth's orbit, according to Harvard University. The NASA Asteroid Robotic Retrieval Mission would involve capturing a near Earth object called NEO 2009BD, dragging it onto a new trajectory that traps it in the Earth-moon system and investigating it.

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