The U.S. Space Force’s (USSF) Space Systems Command (SSC) Rocket Systems Launch Program (RSLP) has released a solicitation for the Tactically Responsive Space (TacRS-3) launch service.
The launch service designation has been changed from “TacRL-3” to “TacRS-3” to emphasize that these efforts are broader than only launch and are focused on enabling comprehensive space capabilities provided as options for commanders responding to threats in space. The TacRS-3 task order is projected to be awarded in August of 2022. This will be the fifth OSP-4 mission and continues USSF’s support of Department of Defense and other U.S. Government agencies’ small launch efforts that have been occuring since the early 1960s.
The TacRS-3 launch service is part of SSC’s VICTUS NOX mission that will demonstrate an end-to-end Tactically Responsive Space capability, including the launch segment, space segment, ground segment, and on-orbit operations. VICTUS NOX will perform a Space Domain Awareness (SDA) mission from LEO and will build on the successful June 2021 TacRL-2 mission by leveraging competition and accelerating the speed of the responsive-launch call-up to 24 hours. Additionally, this mission will help identify and resolve constraints to enable greater responsiveness to address threats in space.
“The threat from near peer adversaries is real and the United States’ decisive advantage in space is at risk of being outpaced,” said Lt. Col. Justin Beltz, SSC RSLP program manager. “Tactically Responsive Space capabilities are one way USSF is addressing this challenge, and this next mission is designed to push the limits of speed and responsiveness. Our plan is to bring a launch service provider to readiness to execute this mission within months, hold them at that ready state for weeks to months, and then launch within 24 hours when directed to go — demonstrating SSC’s delivery of capabilities directly relevant to the threat on the fastest possible timeline.”
Space Systems Command is the U.S. Space Force field command responsible for rapidly developing, acquiring, equipping, fielding and sustaining lethal and resilient space capabilities. SSC mission capability areas include launch acquisition and operations, communications and positioning, navigation and timing, space sensing, battle management command, control and communications, and space domain awareness & combat power. SSC is headquartered at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, Calif.