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  NASA, NRO, USAF strategy for certifying ELVs

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Author Topic:   NASA, NRO, USAF strategy for certifying ELVs
Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29963
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-14-2011 05:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA, NRO, USAF Establish Strategy for Certifying New Expendable Launch Vehicles

NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and the U.S. Air Force signed an agreement this week to establish clear criteria for certification of commercial providers of launch vehicles used for national security space and civil space missions.

The U.S. government is committed to procuring commercial launch services for its satellite and robotic missions, including Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle, or EELV, launches. The new entrant launch vehicle certification strategy is the latest step in a cooperative effort by the Air Force, NASA and NRO to take advantage of new launch capability for the three agencies' missions.

The agencies previously signed a Letter of Intent in October 2010, signaling their collaboration on launch requirements. A memorandum of understanding was signed in March, outlining their plans for future EELV-class launch vehicle acquisition, including the need for a coordinated strategy for certification of new entrant launch systems.

The basis of the new strategy comes from NASA's existing policy directive for launch vehicle risk mitigation. It also recognizes that mission-unique requirements from each of the three agencies may result in different certification approaches to mitigate launch risk. The document provides a common framework and language among the agencies for communicating expectations to new launch service providers.

The risk-based certification framework allows the agencies to consider both the cost and risk tolerance of the payload and their confidence in the launch vehicle. For payloads with higher risk tolerance, the agencies may consider use of launch vehicles with a higher risk category rating and provide an opportunity for new commercial providers to gain experience launching government payloads.

Within a given risk category rating, if new entrants have launch vehicles with a demonstrated successful flight history, then the government may require less technical evaluation for non-recurring certification of the new launch system. This new strategy further enables competition from emerging, commercially developed launch capabilities for future Air Force, NASA, and NRO missions.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29963
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-14-2011 05:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
U.S. Air Force release
New entrant certification strategy announced

he U.S. Air Force, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced Oct. 14 their strategy for certifying commercial launch vehicles that could compete for future contracts for space launch missions to include Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle, or EELV, class launches.

The new entrant launch vehicle certification strategy is the latest step in a cooperative effort by the Air Force, NRO and NASA to further enable competition and expand the number of companies who are qualified to launch these missions. The three agencies previously signed a Letter of Intent in October 2010, signaling their collaboration on launch requirements, and a Memorandum of Understanding in March, which outlined their plans for future EELV-class launch vehicle acquisition, including the need to coordinate their strategies for certifying new entrants into the field.

"This strategy is the best balance of ensuring reliable access to space while encouraging competition and innovation in the launch industry," said Under Secretary of the Air Force Erin Conaton. "We are committed to providing a level playing field to all competitors in the interest of ensuring the best capability for our warfighters and the best value to the American public."

The risk-based certification framework is consistent with the existing NASA policy directive that allows new launch providers to compete for NASA non-crewed missions in all vehicle classes. This framework allows each agency to consider both the cost and mission of the payload and its confidence in the launch vehicle. Payloads with higher risk tolerance can be flown on launch vehicles with a higher risk category rating, thus providing an opportunity for new entrant providers to gain experience launching government payloads.

Although the strategy framework is common to each agency, each agency has the flexibility within the plan to determine its own mission-unique requirements. As part of its implementation plan, the Air Force will publish a new entrant certification guide, which will describe the process for reaching certified status. In addition, the service is seeking opportunities for future missions that could be made available for new entrants and which would be used to collect technical data needed for their certification.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29963
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-14-2011 05:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SpaceX release
Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) Ready to Compete for Upcoming DoD Launches

Today the U.S. Air Force issued a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the NRO and NASA that serves as a joint agreement on the process they will use to allow new companies to compete to provide launch services. The MOU will be followed by detailed guidance for prospective new entrants.

"SpaceX welcomes the opportunity to compete for Air Force launches. We are reviewing the MOU, and we expect to have a far better sense of our task after the detailed requirements are released in the coming weeks," said Adam Harris, SpaceX Vice President of Government Affairs.

The U.S. Air Force is the largest launch customer in the world, but is currently served by a monopoly provider whose prices have consistently risen. Equitable criteria for new entrants, coupled with meaningful opportunities for competition, would save the American taxpayer billions.

"Fair and open competition for commercial launch providers is an essential element of protecting taxpayer dollars," said Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO. "Our American-made Falcon vehicles can deliver assured, responsive access to space that will meet warfighter needs while reducing costs for our military customers."

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29963
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-11-2014 02:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SpaceX release
Air Force Certifies Falcon 9 Flights

The Air Force has certified SpaceX's Falcon 9 launch system as having conducted three successful flights, a prerequisite for companies seeking to win business from the Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Program.

Under Air Force standards, SpaceX is already qualified to compete for EELV missions, but SpaceX must also be certified by the Air Force before any contract can be awarded to the company. Meeting the criteria for successful flights is a key milestone in the certification process.

SpaceX expects to satisfy the remaining certification requirements later this year.

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