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SMC Issues Final RFP For Five EELV Launches; SBIRS & 4 Classified Payloads

Posted by Colin Clark on


CLARIFIED: Adds SMC Comment On Launch Providers WASHINGTON: Last night the Air Force released the final Request For Proposals for five launch contracts for NRO and Air Force Space Command. The most intriguing payload is a code-word program, shared by the NRO and Air Force Space Command, known as SILENTBARKER, which has been described as… Keep reading →

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Wynne Mulled For DepSecDef; Trumpers Reject Ayotte

Posted by Colin Clark on


WASHINGTON: A top candidate for the Pentagon’s No. 2 position is Mike Wynne, the former Air Force Secretary who has been an advisor to Donald Trump for some time. We only have one source on this and can’t identify the source in any way, so put this one in the good rumor basket. Wynne was… Keep reading →

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Give DoD 18 RD-180s; Alternatives Too Late, Too Costly

Posted by Doug Birkey on


When the National Defense Authorization Bill comes to the Senate floor, lawmakers will face an important choice regarding the future of national security space launch. The Defense Department has relied upon United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Delta IV and Atlas V rockets — the latter powered by the Russian-built RD-180 engine. Maintaining redundant launch system capabilities —… Keep reading →

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HASC OKs 18 RD-180s; Adds $100M For New Designs

Posted by Colin Clark on


WASHINGTON: The House Armed Services Committee is certainly no friend to today’s Russia as ruled by Vladimir Putin, but even they now support the Pentagon’s plans to use 18 Russian-made RD-180 rocket engines. The HASC approved by voice vote an amendment by Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado to the National Defense Authorization Act that would… Keep reading →

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‘We Need To Hold Our Noses,’ Buy Russian RD-180 Engines: SecDef

Posted by Colin Clark on


WASHINGTON: Ash Carter made many reporters’ day this morning when he pithily put the case for the Pentagon to continue buying Russian RD-180 rocket engines until the United States has two tested and reliable launch providers capable of replacing the highly reliable and relatively cheap Atlas V built and operated by the United Launch Alliance. “We… Keep reading →

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It’s Preliminary: ULA Won’t Be Sanctioned

Posted by Colin Clark on


WASHINGTON: It’s not officially official, but the head of Pentagon acquisition, Frank Kendall, says the Treasury Department has not found any reason for sanctions to be applied against the United Launch Alliance. “The preliminary indications from Treasury (Department) are that they do not apply,” Kendall told reporters after a lunch address to the Washington Space… Keep reading →

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Shelby, Air Force Press Case To Keep RD-180; McCain Not So Much

Posted by Colin Clark on


CAPITOL HILL: The war ground on today between San. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and his colleague Sen. Richard Shelby on the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee. Shelby, knowing he had a policy friend in Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, asked her about the Russian-made RD-180 rocket engine essential to US satellite launches… Keep reading →

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McCain Intros Bill To Stop RD-180 Use; Pentagon Urges Caution

Posted by Colin Clark on


WASHINGTON: Sen. John McCain continued his crusade to stop the Pentagon from using Russia’s highly reliable and cheap RD-180 rocket engines to launch American military satellites during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing today. The Arizona senator and the House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy of California, introduced a bill today designed to overturn language in… Keep reading →

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McCain Loses To Appropriators, Threatens Russian RD-180 Ban

Posted by Colin Clark on


WASHINGTON: John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, believes fervently in the importance of the authorizing committees, those bodies charged with making congressional policy and placing restrictions on weapons program spending. Today, McCain lost a battle against the appropriators, that small group of powerful legislative leaders who decide how much money the executive branch… Keep reading →

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McCain Warns Shelby Off On RD-180; Writes SecDef

Posted by Colin Clark on


WASHINGTON: Sen. John McCain has fired another salvo at the United Launch Alliance over its use of Russian-made RD-180 rocket engines, telling Defense Secretary Ash Carter he wants an audit of ULA’s “business systems” and he wants that and more information by Dec. 21. This latest kerfuffle arose after ULA’s decided to refrain from bidding for the Air Force’s… Keep reading →

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