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Space Systems Command and SpaceX Launch USSF’s NSSL Falcon Heavy mission

SSC and SpaceX launch USSF-52 mission. Credit: SSC

Ibadan, 29 December 2023. – Space Systems Command (SSC) and SpaceX have successfully launched the U.S. Space Force (USSF)-52 mission using a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex (LC)-39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Falcon Heavy carried the seventh mission of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, an experimental test program to demonstrate technologies for a reliable, reusable, unmanned space test platform for the USSF.

The NSSL Phase 2 contract, awarded in August 2020, incorporated booster reuse from the start, resulting in commercial-like pricing for delivery to commercial-like orbits. Furthermore, as the AATS Directorate implements the Phase 3 strategy, it will aim to keep increasing engagements with up-and-coming innovators that bring additional solutions for the most demanding and low-risk tolerant missions. Likewise, by expanding the family of launch service providers, USSF aims to continue delivering on its mission of assured access to space for our nation’s warfighters and Joint Command.

“This was a very important mission, and our teams worked shoulder-to-shoulder to ensure a successful launch, ” said Brig. Gen. Kristin Panzenhagen, program executive officer for Assured Access to Space and commander of Space Launch Delta 45. “Our national security space missions are the most stressing within our launch portfolio, and we have multiple world-class organizations that come together to make the magic happen. We’re having a great year, doing what we love to do, putting capabilities into space to deter and, if necessary, respond to threats to our nation and its allies,” the Brigadier General also added.

Likewise, Dr. Walt Lauderdale, SSC’s chief of Falcon Systems and Operations, commented, “Missions like these require highly detailed analyses and reviews to meet challenging requirements that are addressed through our mission assurance process.”

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