by Space and Missile Systems Center Public Affairs
Space and Missile Systems Center
1/25/2016 - LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, El Segundo, Calif. -- Lt.
Gen. Samuel Greaves, Air Force Program Executive Officer for Space and
Space and Missile Systems Center commander, updated the certified
baseline configuration of SpaceX's Falcon 9 Launch System to Falcon 9
Upgrade, for use in National Security Space (NSS) missions. The baseline
configuration of the Falcon 9 Launch System was updated to the Falcon 9
Upgrade on Jan. 25.
SpaceX is eligible for award of NSS launch missions, in accordance with
the updated Certification Letter, as one of two currently certified
The partnership between SpaceX and the Air Force continues as they focus
on SpaceX's newest vehicle configuration, Falcon 9 Upgrade. SpaceX and
Air Force technical teams will jointly work to complete the tasks
required to prepare SpaceX and the Falcon 9 Upgrade for NSS missions.
This certification update takes into account all of the Spring 2015
Independent Review Committee's recommendations, including clarification
that the SMC commander, as the certifying official, has the authority to
grant certification and updates based on a New Entrant's demonstrated
capability to design, produce, qualify and deliver their launch system.
This includes allowing New Entrant certification with some open work,
provided there are jointly approved work plans in place that support
potential NSS mission processing timelines.
"The certification process provides a path for launch-service providers
to demonstrate the capability to design, produce, qualify, and deliver a
new launch system and provide the mission assurance support required to
deliver NSS satellites to orbit," Greaves said. "This gives the Air
Force confidence that the national security satellites will safely
achieve the intended orbits with full mission capability."
The purpose of certification is to provide high confidence for
successful NSS launches by determining that New Entrants are capable of
meeting Air Force established launch requirements for the complex NSS
challenges and environments. The Air Force has established launch
standards that all launch providers must meet to become certified.
Formal design and mission reliability assessments ensure the launch
system's capability to provide the necessary payload mass-to-orbit,
orbital insertion accuracy, and other requirements to place a healthy
payload into its intended orbit.
The Space and Missile Systems Center, located at Los Angeles Air Force
Base, Calif., is the U.S. Air Force's center for acquiring and
developing military space systems. Its portfolio includes the Global
Positioning System, military satellite communications, defense
meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite
control networks, space based infrared systems and space situational