US military suborbital technology forum details emerge

by | Mar 18, 2009 | Seradata News | 4 comments

SUSTAIN.JPG

credit: NSSO / caption: this concept of operations has been superceded by a new version after a Sept 2008 event

Almost a month after the 24-26 February National Space Security Office’s technology forum for its Rapid delivery of military assets via space request for information details of the event at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas and its contributors’ proposals have begun to emerge

Hyperbola has obtained the agenda that amongst other things indicates an involvement by General Dynamics in the US military’s Small Unit Space Transport and Insertion (SUSTAIN) work and shows that closed government briefing sessions took place at the forum for Alliant Techsystems, Northrop Grumman, Pratt & Whitney, Andrews Space, Rocketplane Global and Blue Origin

Brett Alexander, Personal Spaceflight Foundation president and also a consultant to Blue Origin, was at the mysterious company’s presentation, given by its general counsel Robert Millman. Alexander told Hyperbola, “all the right people were there [from] the Department of Defense (Dod). [Blue Origin] was there to talk about its suborbital activities. But [the Dod] are nowhere near an acquistion.”  

The agenda also reveals that Xcor Aerospace’s chief executive Jeff Greason spoke at the conference. His company has a horizontal take-off reusable launch vehicle related USAF contract. Hyperbola had contacted Xcor and was still waiting for a response at the time of publication of this blog post.

While the agenda does not mention Virgin Galactic that Anglo-American spaceline’s president Will Whitehorn (the company is Anglo-US not Whitehorn) had previously told Hyperbola that the company would only attend as an observer

While Hyperbola has also obtained some participants’ information that is designated as proprietary…

spaceplane.JPG
credit: US Space Plane Systems LLC (SPS) / caption: this space utility vehicle by SPS is part of a joint proposal

The above concept is the Orbital Vehicle Eagle Flyer proposed by the company US Space Plane Systems and whose other vehicle designs, along with the details of its partners E’ Prime Aerospace, can be read about in this document posted on E’ Prime’s website

An organisation called Space Exploration Partners, which also had a closed session, does not appear to have a website but is cited in the Space Florida annual performance report for fiscal year 2008 as an organisation that has an agreeemnt to use Cape Canaveral Campus

The US military also now has a new draft concept of operations document for SUSTAIN dated Novemebr 2008 and on page four an author’s note (reproduced below) reveals a two-day event held in September 2008 shaped it 

Author’s Note: SUSTAIN CONOPS incorporates the comments received from participants at the SUSTAIN CONOPS Conference held at the NSSO in Fairfax, VA on 18-19 Sep 2008. Version 2.0 now focuses on U.S. Special Operations Command as the principle operational user of SUSTAIN.

The NSSO’s SUSTAIN webpage can be found here with all the related documents and more background documents can be viewed here

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