The Space Force is planning a military exercise in orbit

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The Victus Haze mission is more complex than Victus Knox, involving two prime contractors, two spacecraft, and two rocket launches from different space ports, all occurring with a shorter time frame “to keep the performance as realistic as possible.” Have to go, a Space Force spokesperson told Ars.

“This demonstration will ultimately prepare the United States Space Force to provide future forces to combatant commands to rapidly conduct operations in response to adversary aggression in orbit,” Space Systems Command said in a statement.

confidence in commercial space

“This is a really significant operational performance that is really advancing the technology and demonstrates a lot of confidence in the American industrial base,” Rogers said.

“Fundamentally, it's about characterizing an unknown capability for the first time in low-Earth orbit,” Rogers said in an interview with Ars. “There are a lot of challenges that come with that, continuous coverage with communications, how do you track a moving object in low-Earth orbit with limited space domain awareness capabilities, what is the right level of autonomy and human interaction?”

True Anomaly's first two Jackal satellites were launched on a SpaceX rideshare mission last month, but the company announced a few weeks later that both satellites would be unable to meet their planned rendezvous performance. This would have been a precursor to the type of activity that True Anomaly and Rocket Lab would perform on Victus Haze.

Rogers said his company is working on two more demonstration missions that will fly before Victus Hayes.

The Army's Defense Innovation Unit awarded Rocket Lab $32 million for its part of the Victus Haze mission. The True Anomaly contract with SpaceWERX, the Space Force's innovation arm, is worth $30 million. The True Anomaly is contributing $30 million in private capital to help pay for the mission, bringing the total cost of Victus Hayes to approximately $92 million. Space Safari, a division of the Space Systems Command, oversees the entire project.

“We recognize the significant opportunity to leverage commercial space industry innovations to counter China as a growing threat to the U.S.,” said Col. Brian McClain, Space Systems Command's program executive officer for space domain awareness and warpower. ” “The United States has the most innovative space industry in the world. Victus Hayes will demonstrate our ability to respond to irresponsible behavior in orbit, under operationally realistic conditions.”

“Once the construction phase is complete, the mission will enter several sequential phases including hot standby, activation, alert, and launch phases,” the Space Force said. “Although this is a coordinated demonstration, each vendor will be given a unique launch and mission profile.”

The True Anomaly's Jackal satellite, about the size of a refrigerator, will launch on a “rapid rideshare” mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida or Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, Space Systems Command said. This will likely be a rideshare launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Launching on a rideshare flight comes with different challenges than launching on a dedicated rocket, as last year's Victus Knox mission did.

True Anomaly says it can take its satellite out of storage and integrate it with the rocket in 12 to 84 hours, depending on the launch provider's flight cadence. Following the launch of True Anomaly's Jackal, the Space Force will give Rocket Lab a 24-hour call-up to launch its satellite, similar in size to True Anomaly's spacecraft, on an Electron rocket from New Zealand or Virginia. Rocket Lab's launch must be precisely timed so that its satellite meets the True Anomaly's spacecraft in orbit.