The inaugural flight of SpaceX’s two-stage Falcon-1 rocket ended in failure on Friday, as the rocket and its satellite payload was lost just after liftoff. SpaceX had launched the two-stage Falcon 1 rocket at 5:30 p.m. EST (2230 GMT) from the U.S. military’s Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Test Site, located on Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific’s Marshall Islands. Webcast video from the rocket appeared to show a rolling motion before the feed was lost, but a precise analysis of the problem is not yet available. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk promised that “more information will be posted once we have had time to analyze the problem.”
The rocket was expected to deploy the small, $800,000 FalconSat-2 micro-satellite built by U.S. Air Force Academy. The little satellite cube was sponsored by the U.S. Air Force and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and was designed to measure the effects of space plasma on communication and global positioning satellites.
DID covered the U.S. Defense Department’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Planning Task Force’s “Unmanned Systems Roadmap 2005-2030” back in August 2005. The US Air Force did not get the full authority over UAVs that it wanted, but it has recently completed a vision document focused on UAV operations and management.
“The U.S. Air Force Remotely Piloted Aircraft and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Strategic Vision” [USAF release | PDF format] is not directive in nature. Instead, it lays out a broad vision and provides recommendations. These include developing common terminology, adequately funding relevant science and technology, coordinating efforts with other services, managing cost and performance expectations, reviewing and updating laws and policies, and integrating unmanned aircraft with manned and space platforms. The new strategic vision document also addresses the historical context of UAVs, the unique attributes of the aircraft, and the various challenges in fielding them.
Electronic Data Systems Corp. in Herndon, VA received a $3.12 billion modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract (N00024-00-D-6000). It exercises an option for three additional years of Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) services, in particular seat management services across the US Navy and Marine Corps.
The option, which is being exercised subject to the availability of funds, will extend the period of performance of the contract from October 2007 through September 2010. Work will be performed at Navy and Marine Corps installations and bases across the country and in the Far East. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, in San Diego, CA issued the contract.