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SSC’s 21 new mission assignments include final GPS III mission

November 1, 2023  - By
The ULA Vulcan Centaur launch vehicle. (Image: ULA)

The ULA Vulcan Centaur launch vehicle. (Image: ULA)

The United States Space Force’s Space Systems Command (SSC) has assigned 21 launch service mission assignments for the National Security Space Launch (NSSL) Phase 2 Launch Service Procurement contract. This is the fifth and final order year in the Phase 2 contract.

United Launch Alliance (ULA) received 11 mission assignments and SpaceX received 10. These missions are scheduled to launch over the next two to three years and focus on a variety of mission areas.

The 11 missions assigned to ULA are:  GPS III-9, NROL-73, NROL-56, STP-5, SILENTBARKER 2/NROL-118, GPS IIIF-1, NROL-100, USSF-95, NROL-109, SDA T2TL-B and USSF-25.

The 10 missions assigned to SpaceX are:  SDA T1TL-F, SDA T1TR-A, USSF-57, NROL-77, SDA T1TR-E, GPS III-10, USSF-75, SDA T2TL-A, SDA T2TL-C and USSF-70.

NROL-77, NROL-73, NROL-56, NROL-109, and NROL-100 are missions being conducted in partnership with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).

T1TL-F is the last mission of six Space Development Agency (SDA) Tranche 1 Transport Layer launches. T2TL-A, T2TL-B and T2TL-C are the first three Tranche 2 Transport Layer launches. SDA’s Transport Layer aims to provide assured, resilient, low-latency military data and connectivity worldwide to the full range of warfighter platforms.

T1TR-A and T1TR-E are the last two SDA Tranche 1 Tracking Layer launches. The Tracking Layer aims to provide global indications, warning, tracking and targeting of advanced missile threats, including hypersonic missile systems.

The GPS III-9 and GPS III-10 missions are the final projected GPS III missions. The GPS IIIF-1 is the first launch of the follow-on GPS III satellites. GPS Block IIIF introduces several improvements and novel capabilities compared to previous GPS satellite blocks.

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy launch vehicle. (Image: SpaceX)

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy launch vehicle. (Image: SpaceX)

USSF-57 will launch the first of three next generation overhead persistent infrared GEO satellites. These satellites will deliver survivable, resilient missile warning, tracking, and defense in a highly contested and congested space domain.

SILENTBARKER 2/NROL-118 is a joint NRO and SSC Space Domain Awareness mission to meet U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and intelligence community space protection needs.

USSF-25 will launch the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations (DRACO). The goal of the DRACO program is to demonstrate nuclear thermal rocket in orbit.

USSF-95 will be the first launch of a missile track custody (MTC) prototype satellite. The MTC prototype effort will evaluate the ability of various next generation overhead persistent infrared sensor designs to meet missile tracking requirements.

STP-5 is the latest mission in support of SSC’s Space Test Program (STP). The STP performs mission design, payload-to-bus integration, space vehicle-to-launch vehicle integration, and on-orbit operations for science and technology payloads that exhibit potential military utility. STP-5 will launch two satellites in support of the DOD’s Strategic Capabilities Office.


This article is tagged with , and posted in GNSS, Latest News, Space & Earth

About the Author: Maddie Saines

Maddie was a managing editor at GPS World.