US Warns China to Halt ASAT Threats as Defense Dept. Reorganizes for Improved Space Warfare Capability

China’s first solid propellant launcher, the Long March-11 rocket, is a likely ASAT booster. Photo Credit: CALT

Significant changes are underway in U.S. military space operations due to the growing threat from Chinese anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons and the exponential growth in lightsats and CubeSats that threaten to “darken the sky,” consuming huge bandwidth while […]

Air Force Weather Satellite Space Debris Hazard a Concern

DMSP Air Force weather satellite is depicted in polar orbit near Alaska. Photo Credit: Lockheed Martin

The U.S. Strategic Command’s Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., is monitoring a cloud of new space debris in polar orbit to notify operational satellite controllers about potential collision hazards for critical military and civilian […]

Now You Don't: 25 Years Since the Mysterious Mission of STS-36 (Part 2)

Atlantis rockets into the night on 28 February 1990, headed for the shuttle’s first “dogleg” maneuver and the highest orbital inclination ever attained by a U.S. piloted spacecraft. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

A quarter-century has now passed since one of the quietest missions in the shuttle’s 30-year operational history. On 28 February […]

Now You See It: 25 Years Since the Mysterious Mission of STS-36 (Part 1)

The official crew patch for shuttle mission STS-36, which launched 25 years ago today, on 28 February 1990. Image Credit: NASA

Something strange happened in March 1990. Ground-based observers were busy tracking the orbital progress of a classified Department of Defense payload, recently deployed by the crew of Shuttle Atlantis on STS-36—Commander John “J.O.” […]

The Lunacy of Secrecy: 30 Years Since Mission 51C (Part 2)

Since the conception of the Manned Spaceflight Engineer (MSE) program, the intent was to fly a dedicated officer aboard each classified flight. For Mission 51C, it would be Air Force Major Gary Payton (back left). The other NASA crew members were Loren Shriver (front left) and Ken Mattingly (front right), with Jim Buchli and […]

The Lunacy of Secrecy: 30 Years Since Mission 51C (Part 1)

Mission 51C roars into orbit on 24 January 1985, kicking off the shuttle program’s first dedicated Department of Defense assignment. Photo Credit: NASA

“Miracle” is a term which is often applied to many aspects of the space program: to Yuri Gagarin’s pioneering flight to the accomplishment of the first manned lunar landing or to […]

All Systems GO for ULA to Launch Company's Heaviest Atlas-V Payload Next Week With MUOS-3

Crews with Lockheed Martin lifting the NAVY’s MUOS-3 satellite for placement in its shipping container fpr delivery to Cape Canaveral, Fla., ahead of a planned January 2015 launch. Photo Credit: Lockheed Martin

The third in a five-ship fleet for a next-generation, narrowband tactical military satellite communications system is nearly ready for a scheduled nighttime launch […]

45th Space Wing Detachment 3 Outlines Orion EFT-1 Recovery Training and Preparations for Return of US Human Spaceflight

The U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing’s 45th Ops Group, Detachment-3 Support and Operations Center (SOC) at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. Detachment 3, also known as the Dept. of Defense Human Spaceflight Division, is responsible for providing whatever DoD support NASA needs for Orion Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1). 45th ops Group Det 3 is […]

NAVY's MUOS-3 Satellite Undergoing Final Preparations for Jan. 20 Launch From Cape Canaveral

Crews with Lockheed Martin lifting the NAVY’s MUOS-3 satellite for placement in its shipping container for delivery to Cape Canaveral, Fla., ahead of a planned January 2015 launch. Photo Credit: Lockheed Martin

The third in a five-ship fleet for a next-generation, narrowband tactical military satellite communications system is now at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in […]

Air Force's Secretive X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle Returns After Nearly Two Years in Orbit

Recovery crew members process the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle at Vandenberg Air Force Base after completing 674 days in space. A total of three X-37B missions have been completed, totaling 1,367 days on orbit. Photo Credit: Boeing

The U.S. Air Force’s mysterious X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) ended its third secretive mission today, landing […]