Though the SpaceX Falcon 9 upgrade was recently certified for use in national security space launches and the company is still able to be awarded NSS missions, the company has not yet earned “mission assurance return to flight” status following the Falcon 9 rocket explosion in June, according to the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center. The upgrade version of the Falcon, which was already in process in June and was not prompted or necessitated by the mission loss, is taller and has additional thrust, increased fuel/oxidizer capacity, enhanced avionics, and structural improvements, an SMC spokeswoman told Air Force Magazine. The mishap did not affect the certification status of the SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch System, and SpaceX was cleared under “safety return to flight” criteria to launch from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., in December, allowing them to launch a history-making commercial mission Dec. 21, said the spokeswoman. However, the company has not yet earned “mission assurance return to flight” status, which is required for USAF-supported launches. SMC is doing an independent assessment that is slated for completion early this year, at which time a recommendation will be provided to SMC Commander Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves for approval. SpaceX is one of two launch providers that can be awarded national security space launch missions.
Feb. 28, 2021
In commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of Operation Desert Storm, Air Force Magazine is posting daily recollections from the six-week war, which expelled Iraq from occupied Kuwait.
Feb. 26, 2021
Acting Secretary of the Air Force Roth, NORAD’s Gen. VanHerck, U.S. Space Command’s Gen. Dickinson, Spark Tank, and more from Day 3 of the Air Force Association’s virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium.
Feb. 26, 2021
A crew chief and production superintendent from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., took home the 3D-printed trophy in the Department of the Air Force’s Spark Tank innovation contest for a simple idea he predicts could “solve a lot of issues across the aircraft community.” Master Sgt. Justin Bauer pitched his…
The first flight of the AGM-183A hypersonic missile will happen within a week, experts reported Feb. 26 at AFA's virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium. The Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon will fly soon after a failed attempt, which was apparently due to technical and procedural glitches not related to the missile's design.
Air Combat Command is trying to move forward with an experiment it hopes will pave the way for a larger overhaul of fighter pilot training, despite pandemic-era complications. The command is working through the contracting process for the resources it needs to test the “Reforge” idea, ACC boss Gen. Mark…
Feb. 26, 2021
Nearly 140 Air National Guard personnel from Texas and Kentucky have responded to parts of Texas that were devastated by Winter Storm Uri, ANG Director Lt. Gen. Michael A. Loh told reporters Feb. 26. The polar vortex ravaged Texas’ power grid and deprived many citizens of running water.
The head of Air Combat Command isn't sure the cost of operating the F-35 will hit the desired $25,000 per hour by 2025, and he's headed out to meetings to see what can be done to make it happen. He's also concerned that China will beat the U.S. to 6th-generation…
The Pentagon’s new Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military has 90 days to find ways to combat the problem within the ranks, and the group will consider all options to address an issue that has “shattered the dreams” of many service members who joined with optimism about…
Feb. 26, 2021
Air Education and Training Command has incorporated a focus on human performance optimization—which includes personal resilience, health, fitness, diet, and mental performance—into its Undergraduate Pilot Training 2.5 program, 19th Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Craig D. Wills said at the Air Force Association’s virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium.