Monday, March 10, 2008

FALCON 1 — next flight!

SpaceX News to me
show details 8:39 AM (1 hour ago)

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Press Release: SpaceX Signs Contract with Department of Defense – Falcon 1 to Launch Operationally Responsive Space Satellite on Next Flight

Hawthorne, CA – March 10, 2007 – Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) announced that it has signed a contract with the Department of Defense’s Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) Office to carry their first Jumpstart mission payload onboard the upcoming Falcon 1 launch.

Scheduled for flight in June 2008 from the SpaceX launch complex in the Central Pacific Marshall Islands’ Kwajalein Atoll, the Jumpstart mission aims to establish a preliminary framework for responsive contracting, and to demonstrate the ability to rapidly integrate and execute a mission, from initial call-up to launch.

SpaceX will demonstrate its ability to perform responsive mission integration for three separate candidate ORS payloads. The actual flight payload will be determined by the ORS Office at or before the SpaceX Flight Readiness Review for the Falcon 1 Flight 003 (F1-003) vehicle, which typically occurs two weeks before launch.

“In purchasing this flight, the Department of Defense’s ORS Office has given SpaceX a tremendous endorsement,” said Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX. “We look forward to demonstrating our ability to be a key ORS enabler with rapid and responsive call-up, integration and launch.”

"The Jumpstart mission is an important milestone for Operationally Responsive Space,” said Colonel Kevin McLaughlin, head of ORS and commander of Space and Missile Systems Center, Space Development and Test Wing, Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. “It demonstrates many of the ORS enablers needed to achieve the responsiveness timelines demanded by our deployed forces. The SpaceX Falcon launch capability is expected to be a key contributor in the responsive launch arena and we are pleased to be their teammate on this important mission."

The list of candidate payloads already under development includes the following:

  1. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Plug and Play (PnP) satellite bus – a third generation bus with multiple integrated payloads, that when flown, would be a risk reduction to future ORS missions.
  2. SpaceDev, Inc. Trailblazer spacecraft bus, originally developed under a Missile Defense Agency contract, which demonstrates a flexible, modular commercial bus design using off the shelf components.
  3. Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR)/AFRL NanoSat-4, CUSat – a Space Test Program experiment consisting of two nanosatellites developed by Cornell University in partnership with the AFRL under the University Nanosatellite Program.

In addition to the ORS primary payload, Flight 003 will also carry a rideshare adapter experiment for ATSB of Malaysia (the primary customer for the following Falcon 1 launch, F1-004), and two CubeSat payloads.

About SpaceX

SpaceX is developing a family of launch vehicles intended to reduce the cost and increase the reliability of both manned and unmanned space transportation, ultimately by a factor of ten. With its Falcon line of launch vehicles, SpaceX is able to offer light, medium and heavy lift capability, delivering spacecraft into any inclination and altitude, from low Earth orbit to geosynchronous transfer orbit to interplanetary missions.

About Operationally Responsive Space

Established in May 2007, the U.S Department of Defense’s Operationally Responsive Space Office operates from Kirtland Air Force Base, NM, and is committed to improving the nation's means to develop, acquire, field and employ space capabilities in shortened timeframes and more affordable ways.

ORS Office, contact 377th ABW Public Affairs at 505-246-6068.

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Falcon 1 Demonstration Flight 2 at liftoff, March 21, 2007, from the Kwajalein Atoll, Central Pacific. The flight reached space, and an altitude of 289 kilometers (180 miles). Credit: SpaceX.

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