SMC enters into Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with SpaceX

  • 17-Jun-2013 10:58 EDT
PRN16-AF-SPACE-MISSILE-SYSTEMS-AGREEMENT-1y-2High.jpg

Lieutenant General Ellen Pawlikowski, Space and Missile Systems Center commander, and Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO, sign a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement to certify the Falcon 9 v1.1 Launch System for National Security Space missions at a ceremony at SpaceX in Hawthorne, CA, on June 7.

The Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) as part of the company's effort to certify its Falcon 9 v1.1 Launch System for National Security Space (NSS) missions. This cooperative agreement facilitates data exchanges and protects proprietary and export-controlled data. The CRADA will be in effect until all certification activities are complete. A CRADA enables the U.S. Air Force to evaluate the Falcon 9 v1.1 launch system according to the Air Force's New Entrant Certification Guide (NECG). As part of the evaluation, SMC and SpaceX will look at the Falcon 9 v1.1's flight history, vehicle design, reliability, process maturity, safety systems, manufacturing and operations, systems engineering, risk management, and launch facilities. SMC will monitor at least three certification flights to meet the flight history requirements outlined in the NECG. Once the evaluation process is complete, the SMC commander will make the final determination whether SpaceX has the capability to successfully launch NSS missions using the Falcon 9 v1.1. SMC anticipates entering into additional CRADAs with SpaceX to evaluate its Falcon Heavy rocket and with Orbital Sciences for its Antares launch vehicle.


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