SSC awards VICTUS HAZE TacRS contracts

The United States Space Force (USSF)’s Space Systems Command (SSC)’s Space Safari Program Office, in partnership with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and SpaceWERX, is awarding contracts to two separate space industry vendors. The vendors will exercise a realistic threat response scenario in an on-orbit space domain awareness (SDA) demonstration called VICTUS HAZE. DIU awarded a contract to Rocket Lab National Security at a value of $32 million. SpaceWERX will award a contract to True Anomaly. Of the total $60 million needed for the effort, the government will fund $30 million, and True Anomaly will leverage $30 million of internal private capital.

“The commercial space industry is advancing at an unprecedented pace that will provide the Space Force additional options to quickly respond to adversary aggression,” said Lt. Col. MacKenzie Birchenough, SSC’s materiel leader for Space Safari. “VICTUS HAZE will demonstrate and prove capabilities to be used for future TacRS operations in direct support of urgent Combatant Command on-orbit needs.”

With both efforts, VICTUS HAZE is leveraging commercially developed products to provide highly capable options for future TacRS operations. The multi-vehicle demonstration enables operationally relevant systems that can be leveraged for future urgent on-orbit needs. VICTUS HAZE will also enable the development of the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) for a rapid response to on-orbit threats.

“We recognize the significant opportunity to leverage the commercial space industry’s innovations to counter China as America’s pacing threat,” said Col. Bryon McClain, SSC’s program executive officer for Space Domain Awareness and Combat Power. “The United States has the most innovative space industry in the world. VICTUS HAZE will demonstrate, under operationally realistic conditions, our ability to respond to irresponsible behavior on orbit.”

True Anomaly and Rocket Lab will both demonstrate their ability to build rendezvous and proximity operation (RPO) capable space vehicles (SVs) and command and control centers with a delivery target no later than fall 2025. Once the build phase is completed the mission will enter several successive phases to include hot standby, activation, alert and launch phases.

While this is a coordinated demonstration, each vendor will be given unique launch and mission profiles. True Anomaly’s SV will launch from either Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida or Vandenberg Space Force Base in California via a rapid rideshare. Rocket Lab will launch via their Electron launch vehicle from either Mahia, New Zealand or Wallops Island, Virginia. Both SVs will quickly begin operations after reaching orbit. Once on orbit, the operations teams will conduct a variety of scenarios to demonstrate SDA and characterization capabilities.

The planning and execution of VICTUS HAZE is a multi-organization Department of Defense effort. SSC’s Space Safari partnered with the DIU to leverage their commercial market expertise along with their Commercial Solutions Opening and Other Transaction (OT) Authority to rapidly award. DIU will lead the contract and acquisitions administration for Rocket Lab National Security while Space Safari will provide programmatic oversight and execute the mission. Space Safari partnered with SpaceWERX for assistance in the technical and commercial evaluation of True Anomaly and the push for an emergent SBIR selection by Space Force leadership. Space Safari is leading the contract administration, providing programmatic oversight, and will execute the mission capabilities True Anomaly will bring.

As VICTUS HAZE continues toward mission success, many partners will be involved to play critical roles in this defining Space Force demonstration. VICTUS HAZE leverages state of the art, commercial products and will prove new capabilities that enhance future operational TacRS missions. This demonstration will ultimately prepare the United States Space Force to provide future forces to Combatant Commands to conduct rapid operations in response to adversary on-orbit aggression.

Source: Space Systems Command

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