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13 Apr 16. Sotera awarded $16m Army software contract. Sotera has been awarded a $16m Army task order for software. The three-year task order, with the Communications-Electronics Command Software Engineering Center (CECOM SEC), calls for Sotera to develop software for the Defense Readiness Reporting System-Army (DRRS-A). The company will provide “consolidated technical, engineering and management services for the CECOM SEC Command Control Communications-Tactical (C3T) Directorate,” said a Sotera news release “Efforts include design, development, integration, test, and documentation preparation for DRRS-A, as well as technical, logistics, training, and administrative support efforts pertaining to both the hardware and software defined by the DRRS-A system baseline.”
The task order was issued under the Software and Systems Engineering Services Next Generation (SSES NexGen) indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
14 Apr 16. DARPA XS-1 Program Enters Phase 2. In an era of declining budgets and adversaries’ evolving capabilities, quick, affordable and routine access to space is increasingly critical for both national and economic security. Current satellite launch systems, however, require scheduling years in advance for an extremely limited inventory of available slots. Moreover, launches often cost hundreds of millions of dollars each, due in large part to the massive amounts of dedicated infrastructure and large number of personnel required. DARPA created its Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1) program to help overcome these challenges and create a new paradigm for more routine, responsive and affordable space operations, reducing the time to get capabilities to space.
In an important step toward these goals, DARPA has announced Phase 2 of the XS-1 program, which seeks to design and fabricate an experimental unmanned spaceplane using state-of-the-art technologies and streamlined processes, and fly the vehicle ten times in ten days. The reusable XS-1 would demonstrate the potential for low-cost and “aircraft-like” high-ops-tempo space flight, enabling a host of critical national security options while helping to launch a new and potentially fruitful commercial sector. A Special Notice was posted today on FedBizOpps announcing the XS-1 Phase 2 Proposers Day, to be held on Friday, April, 29, 2016, in Arlington, Virginia.
“During Phase 1 of the XS-1 program, the space industry has evolved rapidly and we intend to take advantage of multiple impressive technological and commercial advances,” said Jess Sponable, DARPA program manager. “We intend to leverage those advances along with our Phase 1 progress to break the cycle of escalating DoD space system launch costs, catalyze lower-cost satellite architectures, and prove that routine and responsive access to space can be achieved at costs an order of magnitude lower than with today’s systems.”
XS-1 envisions that a fully reusable unmanned booster vehicle would fly to high speeds at a suborbital altitude. At that point, one or more expendable upper stages would separate, boost and deploy a satellite into low Earth orbit (LEO). The reusable first stage would then return to earth, land and be prepared for the next flight. Although relatively small by conventional aircraft standards, the XS-1 flight booster size—akin to a business jet—would be sufficient to validate credible scaling to larger reusable launch systems. Moreover, demonstration of on-demand and routine access to space, akin to aircraft, is important for next-generation DoD needs.
XS-1 has four primary technical goals:
• Fly 10 times in a 10-day period (not including weather, range and emergency delays) to demonstrate aircraft-like access to space and eliminate concerns about the cost-effectiveness and reliability of reusable launch.
• Achieve flight veloc