PHOTOS: SpaceX Launches First Classified Mission, Lands Fourth Falcon on Dry Land

Liftoff of NROL-76 from pad 39A, the first SpaceX launch of a National Reconnaissance Office payload. Photo Credit: John Studwell / AmericaSpace

On May 1 at 7:15 a.m EDT, SpaceX and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) launched the NROL 76 spacecraft on a 58 deg. trajectory up the U.S. east coast, flying atop a […]

Russian Techs in ASOC to Monitor SBIRS GEO 3 Launch Jan. 19

A ULA Atlas V rocket launching SBIRS GEO 2. Photo Credit: John Studwell / AmericaSpace

As U.S./Russian intelligence controversies swirl between the two countries, a team of Russian rocket technicians will be at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Jan. 19 to monitor real-time engine data from a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas-V rocket […]

The Inside Story of How Aviation Week’s Decision to Sit on One Cold War Blockbuster Led to Another

DIA briefings arranged by Gen. “Davy” Jones as part of Aviation Week’s deal not to publish KH-11 details revealed the Soviets had begun development of a space shuttle that ultimately flew only once—unmanned— in November 1988. Credit: Energia

Editor’s note: This month Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine, where our U.S. Military […]

ULA & USAF Dazzle West Coast with Delta-IV Night Launch of NRO-45 Topaz-4 Satellite

A top secret 8-ton National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)/Boeing Topaz imaging radar satellite was successfully launched into a retrograde polar orbit before dawn Feb. 10 from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., atop a ULA Delta-IV Medium. Mission NROL-45. Photo Credit: Robert Fisher / AmericaSpace

A top secret, 8-ton National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)/Boeing Topaz imaging radar satellite was […]

Vandenberg Readies Secret NRO Topaz Imaging Radar Satellite for ULA Delta-IV Launch Feb. 10

ULA is set to launch NROL45 on a Delta-IV from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., at 3:39 a.m. PST Feb. 10. The mission will deliver the NRO/Boeing Topaz imaging radar reconnaissance satellite to orbit. Image Credit: ULA

A top secret, 8-ton National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)/Boeing Topaz imaging radar reconnaissance satellite is poised for liftoff […]

Cape/KSC Spaceport Faces Fantastic 2016 with Especially Significant GPS Kickoff Feb. 5

Propelled by its three “cores,” the Falcon Heavy is expected to make its maiden voyage in fall 2016. This behemoth will cement its credentials as the most powerful rocket in current operational status, overtaking the Delta IV Heavy. Image Credit: SpaceX

The planned Feb. 5 launch of a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas-V carrying […]

RD-180 Engine Procurement Ban Overturned, Revealing Sharp Space Policy Differences

Twin nozzle RD-180 engines, which power ULA’s Atlas-V rocket and many of the nation’s national security payloads into space, await shipment to the U.S. from Energomash in Khimky Russia. Photo Credit: Energomash

In a major military space policy shift, United Launch Alliance (ULA) will be allowed to procure more Russian RD-180 engines for the […]

Gov't Officials Pummel ULA and Raytheon for Poor Atlas-V Judgement and GPS III Ground Segment Performance

A ULA Atlas-V rocket, powered by a Russian RD-180 engine, lofts Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo freighter to the International Space Station Dec 6, 2015. ULA and Raytheon were pummeled by Sen. McCain and USAF Gen. Hyten this week over poor Atlas-V judgement and GPS-III ground segment performance. Photo Credit: Mike Killian / AmericaSpace

Story […]

MUOS-4 Completes On-Orbit Testing Ahead of Operational Acceptance Next Spring

File photo of the U.S. Navy’s MUOS-4 satellite, which this week completed on-orbit testing and was officially accepted by the Navy to go operational next spring. Photo Credit: Lockheed Martin

The fourth in a Lockheed Martin-built five-ship fleet for a next-generation, narrowband tactical military satellite communications system was officially accepted by the U.S. Navy […]

ULA Firm On No Bid Face-off With USAF on RD-180 and GPS-III Launch Procurement Policy

A United Launch Alliance Atlas-V rocket launching with the U.S. Air Force GPS 2F-11 satellite Oct. 31, 2015. The USAF believes that ULA had options that would have allowed it to bid on the initial GPS III launch in 2018, but given ULA’s RD-180 engine supply, the company decided instead to cede that launch […]