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Archive for the ‘Space’ Category

DAF Unveils Art Commemorating 75 Years of Air and Space Power

Tuesday, September 5th, 2023


Department of the Air Force senior leaders presided over a ceremony unveiling commemorative wall art titled, “A Shared Foundation; Celebrating 75 Years of Air and Space Power,” at the Pentagon Aug. 29.

DAF celebrated the 75th Anniversary of Air and Space heritage in September 2022 and commissioned the art to help tell the stories of the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force, which required nearly 18 months to complete due to the artist’s extensive research into each of its numerous elements.

The artist, Warren F. Neary, focused the content of the piece on the contributions of Airmen and Guardians throughout the eras. Beginning with the earliest airpower innovators in the Army Air Corps, the art highlights significant milestones and achievements.

“[Neary] met with DAF leadership and visited bases around the country to capture the range of the missions and the people that compose our Air and Space Forces,” Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall remarked. “The people you see in the painting are depictions of real Airmen, real Guardians; both are part of our heritage and those who are currently serving … [This artwork shows] people who helped build our organization, the aircraft and equipment that shaped our experiences and the missions that drove it all.”

In addition to depicting Airmen and Guardians, the artwork features various Air Force and Space Force platforms and systems. In total, 114 unique visual elements are incorporated into the piece.

Each group of elements in the artwork is designed to form the shape of the delta or infinity symbols. The delta symbol carries a deep, historic meaning for both the Air Force and Space Force and signifies upward trajectory and rapid advancement. The infinity symbol represents the ever-present requirements for adaptation, improvement, innovation and vigilance.

“Our heritage is incredibly important — it tells our story. It reminds us of who we are and where we have come from, and why it all matters. The images that surround this piece are powerful. They shape our culture, our sense of purpose and our warfighter mindset.”

-Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall

Neary has created many works of art throughout his career depicting subjects of air and space power. He has received national-level recognition, and his artwork has been exhibited in the National Museum of the Air Force, the Museum of Aviation, the U.S. Air Force Art Collection and the U.S. Army Center for Military History, in addition to private collections.

Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force photos by Eric Dietrich

Garmin Smartwatches Help Launch U.S. Space Force Fitness Study

Monday, August 28th, 2023

Trial program measures Guardians’ physical activity and biometric data to assess readiness

Photo: U.S. Space Force / Rick Eldridge

OLATHE, Kan./August 28, 2023 — Garmin smartwatches are being deployed by the thousands to help assess the physical fitness of U.S. Space Force Guardians, the company (NYSE: GRMN) announced today. Commissioned by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the two-year study will explore the effectiveness of smartwatch technology to supplant annual physical fitness assessments.

“Garmin is gratified to be part of this exciting research effort that will help ensure Space Force Guardians are physically prepared to perform their duties. The accurate health metrics and exceptional battery life of our smartwatches will provide a reliable snapshot of a Guardian’s physical readiness, potentially saving the U.S. Military time and money.” — Scott Burgett, Senior Director of Garmin Health Engineering

Guardians who actively participate in the study will be exempt from U.S. Air Force physical fitness assessments. Enrollment has been robust, with over two-thirds of the 8,400-strong Space Force signing up since the program was announced in May. To date, more than 6,000 Garmin smartwatches have been or will be issued to active military members who have agreed to log workouts and complete monthly surveys provided by AFRL, and a second wave of enrollment is expected to begin in October.

“By tracking two basic metrics—cardiorespiratory fitness and physical activity—we can quickly verify that a Guardian has met their physical requirements and is ready for duty,” said Dr. James Christensen, a product line lead with AFRL’s 711th Human Performance Wing. “We hope that continuous fitness assessment, implemented via wearable technology, will promote a higher, more consistent level of fitness across the force with expected outcomes like reduced injury and stress, improved resilience and higher overall operational performance.”

Garmin Instinct® 2 Solar and Forerunner® 55 smartwatches were chosen for the U.S. Space Force’s Continuous Fitness Assessment (CFA) project because they offer abundant battery life, high-quality biometric data and the ability to disable GPS functionality. Further, the Garmin Health API and secure data collection practices are compliant with federal privacy and cybersecurity standards for software, sensors and data encryption.

“We were pleased that the Garmin wearable ecosystem went through a rigorous U.S. Air Force cybersecurity and privacy review,” Burgett said. “The U.S. military has high security standards, and our system is designed end-to-end to protect sensitive user data.”

The AFRL team will analyze study results to determine the effectiveness of smartwatches relative to the current physical fitness tests and advise on future efforts to make smartwatches a permanent option. If successful, the program could be adopted by other branches of the Armed Services and include broader Department of Defense requirements such as musculoskeletal injury risk. 

Garmin Health provides custom enterprise business solutions that leverage Garmin’s extensive wearable portfolio and high-quality sensor data for applications in the corporate wellness, population health, and patient monitoring markets. The Garmin Health API allows third parties to ask customers to share their data in accordance with their specific privacy policies. As part of a global company that designs, manufactures and ships products worldwide, Garmin Health supports its customers’ commerce and logistics needs, allowing enterprises to scale with a single, trusted provider. For more information, email our media team, connect with us on LinkedIn, or visit us online at garmin.com/health

Colorado Springs to host DEL 15, two Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Squadrons

Wednesday, June 28th, 2023


The U.S. Space Force’s Space Delta 15, activated in March 2023, is expected to be permanently based at Schriever Space Force Base, Colorado, along with the new 75th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Squadron. Additionally, the service expects the 74th ISR Squadron, activated in November 2022, to be based at Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado.

DEL 15, a command-and-control organization within Space Operations Command, provides mission-ready forces in support of the National Space Defense Center’s protect and defend space mission. The unit currently operates at Schriever Space Force Base and is expected to remain there permanently.

The two ISR squadrons will provide additional capabilities within Space Delta 7, which has embedded detachments in each of the command’s other deltas to provide real-time ISR support to their respective missions.

The 74th ISR Squadron provides tailored threat analysis and intelligence production for tactical space operations. The squadron’s intelligence gathering is used to empower space operations to combat current, emerging, and future adversaries.

The new 75th ISR Squadron will be responsible for the federated targeting mission through orbital targeting sections focusing on integrating kinetic and non-kinetic targeting for the Joint Force across several orbital regimes.

The Department of the Air Force’s decision to host DEL 15 and the two ISR squadrons came after conducting thorough site surveys which assessed the location’s ability to facilitate the missions and infrastructure capacity while accounting for community support, environmental factors, and cost.

The Department of the Air Force will now conduct environmental impact analyses at each base, which are expected to be completed later this year before final decisions are made.

Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

Space Control Squadron Redesignated Electronic Warfare Squadron

Wednesday, June 21st, 2023

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla. – The 114th Space Control Squadron, a geographically separated unit assigned to the Florida Air National Guard’s 125th Fighter Wing, was redesignated as the 114th Electromagnetic Warfare Squadron Jan. 14.

The redesignation more accurately associates the unit’s name with its mission and aligns it with active-duty Space Force counterparts who were redesignated last year. It also reflects the evolution of electromagnetic warfare technologies to the forefront of space operations.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Scott McGuire, commander of the 114th Electromagnetic Warfare Squadron, said the squadron will now be recognized, by name, as a combat unit providing critical electromagnetic warfare functions to joint force warfighters across domains. At the same time, they will continue providing the same support to the U.S. Space Force. This change also recognizes that these Airmen offer the same capabilities as their active-duty Space Force counterparts.

The 114th’s mission is to organize, train and equip personnel to conduct electromagnetic attacks in contested, congested and constrained environments downrange, using specialized equipment such as the counter communications system, or CCS. The CCS denies communications from satellites in orbit, cutting off adversarial communications during a conflict, creating a safer, more secure environment for U.S. and joint warfighters.

“Successful space operations depend on dominating the electromagnetic spectrum,” said Ed Zoiss, president of the space and airborne systems segment for L3Harris Technologies and a Navy veteran. “Denying our enemies the ability to use their space assets protects U.S. warfighter operations.”

While the mission is the same, the newly designated electromagnetic warfare squadron remains committed to developing combat-trained, combat-ready and combat-focused Airmen ready to support warfighters across all domains.

“The Department of Defense’s growing dependence on the electromagnetic spectrum to remain connected and share data is only growing,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Anthony Surman, assistant operations officer at the 114th Electromagnetic Warfare Squadron. “It’s important that we recognize that we need the capability to conduct both electromagnetic and kinetic attacks; we can deliver a multitude of options.”

Air National Guard units reporting to the former U.S. Space Command have continued supporting space-centric missions for the Space Force since its inception in 2019. The units have an atypical arrangement in which they fall under a major command of the Air Force while receiving operational taskings from the Space Force.

By Senior Airman Jacob Hancock, 125th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

AFRL Collaborates with Industry Partners on In-Theater Alternative to GPS

Friday, June 16th, 2023

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, OHIO (AFRL) — The Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, partnered with Luminous Cyber Corp. to develop a more resilient alternative to GPS for regions where coverage is not as reliable or where there is a risk of interference or jamming by malicious actors. Luminous develops alternative-position navigation and timing, or A-PNT solutions for navigation of crewed and uncrewed orbital, avionic, marine and mounted land-based systems.

Luminous submitted their in-theater GPS alternative through the Air and Space Force Tech Connect website, which helps entities from industry, small business and academia gain access to relevant Air and Space Force subject matter experts to provide opportunities to develop new technologies relevant to the U.S. military.

“The submission provides an alternative to GPS along with ultra-wideband secure communications links, an integrated capability needed by our warfighters,” said Dr. Nicholaos I. Limberopoulos, integration lead, aerospace components and subsystems technology at AFRL’s Sensors Directorate. “The submission met the needs for developing a needed integrated capability.”

Collaborating through the Tech Connect website, AFRL’s Sensors Directorate worked with Luminous Cyber to adapt their commercially available Location Information Service, or LIS, platform to provide resilient real-time geolocation and time synchronization information to warfighters in GPS-denied environments.

“We found out about the Tech Connect website through Aegis Creek, a team who specializes in helping small tech companies leverage non-dilutive funding to effectively bring ideas to market,” said Dr. Charles Barry, founder and CEO of Luminous Cyber Corp. “There are a large number of different ways to engage with Air Force and Space Force technical stakeholders. Tech Connect is one of the easiest and most responsive, and it’s well worth the effort.”

Strong collaboration with Tech Connect is key for continuous access to new technology ideas from industry and academia. The Tech Connect program has been a huge success, according to Limberopoulos.

Luminous Cyber sought to adapt their commercially available LIS platform, using their real-time network multilateration technology to include providing geolocation and synchronization data for fixed and mobile airborne Air Force assets in locations where GPS is less reliable because of the danger of outages, jamming, space weather impacts and geographical obstructions. Adapting an already commercially available option to work within the Air Force’s requirements also helped to provide a lower-cost solution than developing one from scratch.

“Luminous’ solution combines advanced algorithms, AI, machine learning and multi-sensor data fusion to provide the utmost in accuracy, safety and reliability,” said Barry. “Given the increasing reliance on GPS and the wide availability of inexpensive tools to jam, spoof and obstruct GPS transmissions, robust A-PNT tools are in high demand.”

According to Luminous, a clear and present danger exists to government and military assets in areas where GPS is not as dependable due to the dependence on GPS for A-PNT, data. Their LIS platform intends to provide an alternative to GPS in areas where signals are less reliable.

Luminous Cyber submitted the idea through the Tech Connect program in May 2021. After initial contact and determining that the proposal had merit, the AFRL Sensors Directorate reached out to Luminous Cyber and the Florida International University o proceed with further development.

“[Tech Connect] gives us confidence that no good ideas are rejected and that those considered and brought forth to us have a good chance of meeting our integrated capability development requirements and making a real difference to the warfighter,” said Limberopoulos.

After further development, Luminous Cyber was selected and funded and underwent a successful transition to a Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Phase II with a project kick-off in June 2022.

“Our experience with the Air Force has been quite positive and helped us drive our technology from ideation to product,” said Barry. “A-PNT is crucial to the future of shipping and transportation because of the rise of technologies that can interfere with GPS.”

Jeremy Dunn Air Force Research Laboratory Public Affairs

SOFWERX – SOF Space 2040 Event

Monday, June 12th, 2023

SOFWERX, in collaboration USSOCOM J59 Concept Development and Integration – Experimentation (J59 CDI-E) will host a Table-Top Exercise (TTX) 26-27 July 2023, in Orlando, FL, which intends to bring together Industry, Academia, Government, and futurists in an exploration, design thinking, facilitated event to assist USSOCOM in decomposing future scenarios and missions. The theme of the TTX is “SOF Space 2040: Integrating SOF into the Space Domain”. 

There have been rapid and transformative developments in the Space Domain, with many countries increasing their investments and interest in space, growth in new technologies and platforms, and significant activity from commercial players. These developments range from an exponential deployment of satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO); to more capable launch vehicles and spacecraft with greater payloads; and planned missions to exploit cislunar space and colonize the Moon and Mars. The number of space-related applications is far-reaching and includes communications, imaging, mining, manufacturing, exploration, tourism, scientific research, intelligence, military power, and human settlement.

The event will be a compelling opportunity for leading minds in Industry, Academia, Labs, and Government, as well as Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to collaborate and ideate with other experts.

By participating, you will join a diverse group of experts in fields including space, defense, technology, gaming, manufacturing, robotics, science fiction, and international relations, and human factors who will gather to paint a picture of how you see the space domain in 2040, identify what challenges and opportunities could arise, and discuss how any challenges could be addressed.

You will network with other experts and use design thinking to explore concepts from future technology areas. The TTX is not limited to SOF-specific solutions; however, the outputs of the event should be aligned and/or designed to support USSOCOM operations when envisioning new mission sets for future Special Operations Forces (SOF) personnel in Space – whether on earth, on orbit, in cislunar space, on the lunar surface, or elsewhere.

If you are an expert in any of the following areas of interest or in related fields, please consider participating in the TTX.

Space Technologies
Defense Systems
Science Fiction
Space Manufacturing
International Relations
Human Aspects of Space

What you will do at the SOF Space 2040 Event:

• Describe what might be the characteristics of the Space Domain in 2040 and beyond.

• Describe what might be the predominant technologies within the future Space environment of 2040 and beyond.

• Describe what might be the challenges that will be faced in space in 2040 and beyond.

• Describe what concepts might lead to solutions that address these challenges.

• Describe what planning might be done starting now to address these challenges.

• Describe what investments should or might be made to ensure that DOD has the right technologies, processes, people, and resources to succeed.

Request to attend here.

U.S. Citizens Only…Submit NLT 30 June 2023 11:59 PM ET

Chief Master Sgt John Bentivegna Selected as Next Chief Master Sergeant of the US Space Force

Saturday, May 20th, 2023

ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) — Chief Master Sgt. John F. Bentivegna was selected May 5 to become the next Chief Master Sergeant of the Space Force.

Bentivegna is currently serving as the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chief Operations Officer and the Enlisted Space Systems Operations Career Field Manager at Headquarters Space Force, Washington D.C.

In making his selection, Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman said, “I needed someone that would bring a perspective on our future that was articulated differently from mine.”

“Someone who could (and would) challenge my assumptions and ensure that important issues were evaluated from multiple angles and would catch things I missed,” Saltzman continued. “All the candidates had tremendous experience, skills, and expertise and it made it a close run.”

This was an open selection process and any Space Force chief master sergeant with 22 years’ time in service and three years’ time in grade could apply.

Saltzman selected Bentivegna from a group of five candidates who underwent a four-day evaluation process that vetted their skills and leadership capabilities. The process, along with personal interviews with each candidate, helped Saltzman make his final decision by giving him data on how the chiefs performed in various exercises and assessments.

“Chief Bentivegna brings a wealth of operational experience, a dedication to caring for our Guardians, and the spirit needed to take our service to the next level,” Saltzman said.

Bentivegna has been a space operator for more than 25 years, and has held positions at the squadron, group, wing, Numbered Air Force, Field Command and Headquarters Air and Space Force levels.

“It’s overwhelming and incredibly humbling to be offered the opportunity to become the next Chief Master Sergeant of the Space Force” Bentivegna explained. “I am really excited to have that opportunity to work next to General Saltzman to help fulfill his vision for where the service needs to go.”

“We have run really fast to develop the service and shape what it’s going to be,” Bentivegna continued. “We have charted a vision for the future, and I want to deliver that vision to our Guardians and the joint force. I know this is going to take collaboration, communication, policy and processes to make that happen. I am humbled that I get to be the one to champion these efforts for them in the future.”

As the next CMSSF, Bentivegna will be appointed as the Space Force’s highest noncommissioned officer position, making him only the second person in history to hold the title.

“Chief Towberman was the first Chief Master Sergeant of the Space Force, and there was no one better to guide us through that initial launch phase of the Space Force. Just like actual space launch, there’s a lot of anticipation, it’s exciting, it’s energetic, it’s violent, but it was also so critically important,” Bentivegna said. “He was the enlisted leader that got us out of the atmosphere and into orbit. Now I’ll have the opportunity to work with our Guardians to continue getting them combat ready.”

“He’s been right here with us every step of the way,” said Chief Master Sgt. of the Space Force Roger A. Towberman. “He knows where we’ve been and believes in where we’re going. I couldn’t be happier for our Guardians or more proud of how it’s all coming together. He’s exactly who we need right now.”

Bentivegna joined the U.S. Air Force August 1994, and transferred into the U.S. Space Force September 2020.  He started his career as a Precision Measurement Equipment Lab Technician in McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., before cross-training to become a space operator in 1998. He eventually went on to serve in several command chief assignments and served as the senior enlisted leader for Space Operations Command at Peterson Space Force Base in Colorado before his current position.

As the CMSSF, Bentivegna will act as the personal advisor to the CSO and the Secretary of the Air Force on all issues regarding the welfare, readiness, morale, proper utilization, and development of the Space Force. He will also provide direction for the enlisted force and represent their interests, as appropriate, to the American public and to those in all levels of government.

By Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

AeroVironment Awarded $10 Million Contract by NASA/JPL to Co-Design and Develop Two Helicopters for Mars Sample Return Mission

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023

The success of Ingenuity Mars helicopter, co-designed and co-developed by AeroVironment and NASA/JPL, lays the foundation for the development of the Sample Recovery Helicopters

Early Concept for the Sample Recovery Helicopter Based on Ingenuity. (Credit: NASA/ESA/JPL-Caltech)

ARLINGTON, Va., May 2, 2023 – AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV) has been awarded a $10 million contract by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to co-design and co-develop conceptual designs and engineering development units of Mars Sample Recovery Helicopter flight systems. Future efforts could include detailed design, build, and test of qualification and flight hardware. The helicopters build upon the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter design heritage and feature upgraded robotics to supplement aerial mobility.

AeroVironment engineers from the MacCready Works team previously worked with NASA JPL to co-design and develop the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, which has completed 52 successful flights to date on Mars and survived 781 sols on the surface, far outperforming its design objectives.

“Accomplishing the impossible has been AeroVironment’s mission for more than 50 years and we are excited to be working with the NASA JPL team again to conquer the next challenge,” said Scott Newbern, AeroVironment’s vice president and chief technology officer. “Ingenuity’s flights on Mars are a giant leap for robotic technology. Now we’re advancing this science further by helping to build helicopters that not only will continue flight on Mars, but also will include apparatus to collect samples to bring back to Earth for this historic mission.”

The two planned Sample Recovery Helicopters would be a secondary method of sample retrieval for the NASA/ESA Mars Sample Return Campaign. NASA’s Perseverance rover, which has already been collecting a diverse set of scientifically selected samples for potential safe return to Earth, is currently planned as the primary method of delivering samples to the Sample Retrieval Lander.

The Sample Recovery Helicopters would expand on Ingenuity’s design, adding wheels and gripping capabilities, to provide a secondary method to pick up cached sample tubes left on the surface by Perseverance and transport them to the Sample Retrieval Lander. Once the sample cache is launched off the red planet, another spacecraft would capture it in Mars orbit, and then bring it back to Earth safely and securely in the early to mid-2030s. After the samples are on Earth, scientists around the world would examine them using sophisticated instruments too large and complex to send to Mars. The samples would remain available for future generations to study with increasingly advanced technologies. Scientists believe the samples could shed light on whether life has ever existed on Mars.