The U.S. Air Force is kicking off a series of meetings with industry in the coming weeks to outline the path for would-be competitors to break into the typically exclusive U.S. government launch sector, potentially creating a healthier and more cost-effective rocket market in the next decade.
Lt. Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, commander of the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), has signed off on a first-ever detailed guide for certifying companies seeking to compete for U.S. government launches.
This document, long awaited by potential contenders, will provide a detailed outline of what Pawlikowski says are the “mechanics” that new entrants must follow to gain certification to loft various payload types—from experimental systems that are more risk-tolerant to high-cost monoliths such as the Space-Based Infrared System that require foolproof mission assurance. The guide will not be publicly disseminated, she says, owing to sensitive data protected by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, she says.
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