5/8/2015 - LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The
Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) and Space Exploration
Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) have formally amended the Cooperative
Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between the two organizations
for Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Certification of the
Falcon 9 Launch System.
These updates incorporated lessons learned from the on-going
certification process and will streamline the execution of the
certification process. The amended CRADA incorporates all of the
Independent Review Committee's recommendations, including clarification
that the SMC Commander, as the Certifying Official, has the authority to
grant certification based on a New Entrant's demonstrated capability to
design, produce, qualify, and deliver their launch system.
Additionally, New Entrants will provide future mission assurance support
required to deliver National Security Space (NSS) payloads to specific
orbits on a specific schedule with a specific level of risk.
Among other things, these changes allow SpaceX certification with some
open work, provided there are jointly approved handling plans in place
for work to support potential NSS mission processing timelines.
"I am very pleased with all we have accomplished. The updated CRADA
captures important lessons learned along the way about the process and
allows the flexibility to certify SpaceX when ready, while maintaining
our 'laser focus on mission success'," said Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves,
"SpaceX welcomes these actions," said Gwynne Shotwell, President &
Chief Operating Officer, SpaceX. "We look forward to completing the
certification process and competing for EELV missions."
Certification of the Falcon 9 Launch System (with the Falcon 9 v1.1 as
the baseline configuration) is expected no later than June 2015. Both
SpaceX and the Air Force see these CRADA modifications as a positive
step towards strengthening U.S. national security through continued
competition in the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program.