The U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center’s Launch Enterprise team and its mission partners successfully launched the USSF-7 mission of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle for the Department of the Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 501 launch vehicle May 17 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
This morning’s liftoff at 9:14 a.m. EDT marks the 80th successful mission in a row for the National Security Space Launch program. This launch continues the Department of Defense’s America Strong initiative, recognizing healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential personnel on the COVID-19 frontlines.
“The National Security Space Launch program leverages commercial launch services to deliver the Nation’s most critical space capabilities safely to orbit,” said Col. Rob Bongiovi, director of SMC’s Launch Enterprise. “Executing this important mission during an incredibly difficult time for the Nation and the world demonstrates the tenacity of the dedicated government and contractor professionals who worked tirelessly in new and innovative ways to safely achieve 100 percent mission success.”
“Congratulations to the USSF-7 integrated team on a successful launch,” said Lt. Gen. John Thompson, Space and Missile Systems Center commander and Air Force program executive officer for Space. “Launching USSF-7 is just the latest example of the big things the Department of Defense continues to accomplish every day in defense of our nation during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”
The USSF-7 launch is one of many achievements the Space and Missile Systems Center plans to accomplish this year. SMC’s Launch Enterprise team intends to successfully and responsibly launch seven additional National Security Space missions throughout 2020.
The Space and Missile Systems Center is the U.S. Space Force's center of excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. SMC’s portfolio includes space launch, global positioning, military space vehicle communications, defense meteorological space vehicles, range systems, space vehicle control networks, space-based infrared systems, and space situational awareness capabilities.