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US Space Force Awards ABL Space Systems Responsive Launch Contract

By Frank Wolfe | September 20, 2023

      The ABL Space Systems RS1 rocket. Photo: ABL

      El Segundo, California-based ABL Space Systems has received a $15 million contract from the U.S. Space Force Space Systems Command’s Assured Access to Space (AATS) office for responsive launch, SSC said on Sept. 18.

      The small business innovation research award from AATS’ Small Launch and Targets Division at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, comes under the $60 million Strategic Funding Initiative by SSC and the Air Force Research Laboratory “to develop a launch mission design that incorporates planning for numerous satellites to multiple orbits from a variety of locations and conduct a proof-of-concept responsive launch,” per SSC.

      The tactically responsive space concept encompasses rapid launch of satellites, multiple orbits, trajectories, and launch sites.

      “The Space Force is committed to growing Tactically Responsive Space capabilities, including launch, space, and ground segments, to meet the needs of combatant commanders,” Lt. Col. Justin Beltz, chief of SSC’s Small Launch and Targets Division, said in a statement. “This mission area is evolving quickly, and it’s important we continue to push the bounds of speed, responsiveness, and flexibility.”

      Last week, SSC launched the VICTUS NOX tactically responsive space mission from Vandenberg Space Force Base, within 24 of launch notice. Firefly Aerospace Alpha launch vehicle lifted a Boeing Millennium Space Systems-built space domain awareness satellite into Low-Earth Orbit.

      A version of this article was first published by Defense Daily.