Tag: US Air Force

Orbit Fab’s Plan is to Fill Them Up in Space

November 16, 2020                                  (satnews.com)

• Orbit Fab is expected to launch the first operational fuel depot, or “gas station” in Earth’s orbit aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 no earlier than in June 2021. ‘Tanker 001 Tenzing’ (pictured above) will store readily accessible fuel propellant to satellite servicing vehicles and other spacecraft the fast growing in-orbit servicing industry. (see 7:10 minute demonstration video below)

• The tanker is one of several payloads to launch on a Spaceflight Sherpa orbital transfer vehicle (OTV), which is capable of multiple deployments. Spaceflight’s first OTV, Sherpa-FX, is scheduled to debut in December 2020 on a SpaceX rideshare mission, and provides independent and detailed deployment telemetry and flexible interfaces, all at a low cost.

• Orbit Fab’s ‘Rapidly Attachable Fluid Transfer Interface’ (RAFTI) provides reliable propellant transfer both on the ground and in orbit with a self-driving satellite kit for docking and attachment of two spacecraft without the need for complex robotic arms. The RAFTI interface has been adopted by multiple spacecraft manufacturers to extend the life of their satellites. RAFTI, which is also known as a “Satellite Gas Cap™,” was developed in cooperation with 30 companies and organizations and it is expected to become the industry’s common refueling interface.

• Orbit Fab successfully demonstrated its propellant storage and delivery systems in an unprecedented private transfer of water to the International Space Station. Earlier in 2020, Orbit Fab received a $3 million contract from the US Air Force to fully flight qualify the RAFTI service valve. Orbit Fab also received a National Science Foundation grant to test its docking system.

• RAFTI will support the rapidly proliferating in-orbit servicing industry which saw a five-fold increase since 2018. Gas stations in space are an essential resource to fuel this industry and support the infrastructure in space that enables projected commerce, exploration and national security.

• RAFTI will also support the Air Force and Space Force’s need for space combat logistics capabilities said  Orbit Fab CDO, Jeremy Schiel. “Refueling is a requirement in the emerging Space Force architecture and for good reason. You don’t want to run out of fuel in the middle of a confrontation.”

 

                           Jeremy Schiel

Orbit Fab has signed an agreement with Spaceflight Inc. to launch the company’s first operational fuel depot to orbit. Tanker 001 Tenzing, which will provide fuel for the fast growing in-orbit servicing industry, is expected to launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 no earlier than in June 2021.

Once launched, Tanker 001 Tenzing will store propellant in sun synchronous orbit, where it will be available to satellite servicing

    Sherpa Orbital Transfer Vehicle

vehicles or other spacecraft that need to replenish fuel supplies. The tanker is one of several payloads to launch on a Spaceflight Sherpa orbital transfer vehicle, which is capable of executing multiple deployments. Spaceflight’s first OTV, Sherpa-FX, is scheduled to debut no earlier than December 2020 on a SpaceX rideshare mission and provides independent and detailed deployment telemetry, and flexible interfaces, all at a low cost.

Orbit Fab’s fuel depots are designed to support more sustainable spacecraft through the use of the Rapidly Attachable Fluid Transfer Interface (RAFTI), which has been adopted by multiple spacecraft manufacturers to extend the life of their satellites. RAFTI, which is also known as a “Satellite Gas Cap™,” was developed in cooperation with 30 companies and organizations and it is expected to become the industry’s common refueling interface.

In today’s contested space domain RAFTI provides reliable propellant transfer both on the ground and in orbit with a self-driving satellite kit for docking and attachment of two spacecraft without the need for complex robotic arms.

7:10 minute ‘Orb Fab Story’: gas stations in space (‘Altium Stories” YouTube)

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NASA Commander to be Sworn into US Space Force From the International Space Station

Article by Sandra Erwin                                October 28, 2020                                    (spacenews.com)

• NASA astronaut and US Air Force colonel Michael Hopkins is the commander of an upcoming SpaceX Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Hopkins is also planning to transfer to the US Space Force.

• “If all goes well, we’re looking to swear him into the Space Force from the International Space Station,” said Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, chief of space operations of the US Space Force. Raymond is working with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine on the details of a planned transfer ceremony as a way to highlight the decades-long partnership between DoD and NASA.

• NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission is scheduled to launch on November 14th from Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The crew of four includes Hopkins, NASA astronauts Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency mission specialist Soichi Noguchi (all 4 pictured above).

• For more than 60 years, men and women from the five military branches have helped fill the ranks of the NASA astronaut corps. Hopkins was selected by NASA to be an astronaut in 2009. Like hundreds of other Air Force airmen, Hopkins is voluntarily transferring to Space Force. He will be the first member of the Space Force to serve in NASA’s astronaut corps.

 

      Michael Hopkins

WASHINGTON — NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins, a U.S. Air Force colonel and the commander of the upcoming SpaceX Crew Dragon mission, is transferring to the U.S. Space Force and is expected to be commissioned aboard the International Space Station.

         the International Space Station

“If all goes well, we’re looking to swear him into the Space Force from the International Space Station,” said Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, chief of space operations of the U.S. Space Force.

Col. Michael “Hopper” Hopkins is the commander of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission scheduled to launch Nov. 14 from Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The crew of four includes Hopkins, NASA astronauts Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency mission specialist Soichi Noguchi.

Col. Catie Hague, a spokesperson for the chief of space operations, told SpaceNews that the service is working with NASA to schedule a transfer ceremony once Hopkins is on board the International Space Station.

Hopkins, like hundreds of other airmen who are now in the Space Force, is transferring voluntarily. He was selected by NASA to be an astronaut in 2009.

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Space Force Built for War?

Article by Ryan Faith                                   October 16, 2020                                  (realcleardefense.com)

• Space Force keeps a tight lid on its military intentions. Therefore, Russian or Chinese space warfare theorists might assume that a ‘kinetic’ (ie: shooting) war could be in the works. As in the US Air Force, the purveyors of kinetic mayhem tend to be culturally dominant. And Space Force has been no exception. These kinetic mayhem purveyors present a louder, more muscular, aggressive face of the Space Force. The non-kinetic approaches to space dominance get little discussion. The overall message suggests a Space Force with a strong bias towards kinetic warfare.

• At the same time, the US Space Force does not discuss the activities of its potential foes, and publicly there’s little to suggest that US opponents are hostile and aggressive. This makes the cultural bias in Space Force towards kinetic action appear to be an itchy trigger finger, not a response to real-life aggression.

• Kinetic action in space comes with an immense risk associated with orbital debris. In 2007, China demonstrated an anti-satellite weapon, and created more than 3,000 bits of space shrapnel in space. At immense orbital speeds, an impact by even a small bit of debris can have a devastating effect. This in turn creates more orbital debris in a sort of feedback effect called the Kessler Syndrome. This in itself creates some talk of strategic deterrent to an orbital debris chain-reaction that results in unintentional mutually assured response and destruction.

• The US Space Force would probably benefit by clarifying that a kinetic response must be in response to a legitimate threat or attack. Secondly, the US has a variety of tools at its disposal to manage the escalation of a space conflict without blowing a space asset to smithereens.

• But these suggestions are just a small part of the extensive political-social-media context of space operations as the backdrop to combat operations for the foreseeable future. The reality of a space conflict today may be a matter of winning the security battle versus losing the messaging war tomorrow.

 

If I were a Russian or Chinese space warfare theorist, thinking about a future war with the United States, it might be reasonable to bet that the newly-minted U.S. Space Force was planning for a kinetic space conflict, starting on Day 1.

Understandably, the Space Force keeps a tight lid on broader discussions of its capabilities. There isn’t a lot of direct information one way or another. Without a clear understanding of what the U.S. can do, an analyst might start trying to figure out U.S. intentions.

The culture of the Space Force might still be unformed and changing; it does bear at least a family resemblance to its sister services in at least one significant respect. In the services, the purveyors of kinetic mayhem — the shooters and the killers — tend to be culturally dominant within their respective services. The Space Force has been no exception to this.

Whether or not the Space Force shooters want to or not, they present a louder, more muscular, aggressive face of the Space Force. Conversely, non-kinetic approaches to space dominance get little discussion indeed.

Between the relative boldness of the kinetic space warfare community and the comparative silence of the non-kinetic warfare practitioners, the overall message suggests a Space Force with a strong bias towards kinetic warfare.

Compounding this problem, the USSF does not speak a lot about the activities of its potential foes. In public discussion, there’s little to suggest that U.S. opponents are hostile and aggressive and that need a muscular response. Keeping malicious actions secret makes the cultural bias towards kinetic action appear spontaneous — that it is not a response to unfortunate real-life conditions, but more of an itchy trigger finger.

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