Millennium Space Systems, a Boeing company, completed checkout and achieved operational readiness of the VICTUS NOX space vehicle just 37 hours after launch – 11 hours ahead of the 48-hour goal. This phase of a space mission typically takes weeks or months to complete.
Full-mission operability comes only days after the 60-hour activation and 24-hour launch notifications were given by Space Force leadership, on September 8 and September 13, respectively. The team completed the activation phase in under 58 hours, including the transportation of the vehicle, fueling, and integration into the payload adaptor. In less than 24 hours, Firefly Aerospace then successfully completed the launch phase, including updating trajectory software, encapsulating the satellite, mating it to the Alpha launch vehicle, and conducting all final launch preparations. A flawless launch occurred during the first available window at 7:28 p.m. PDT, on September 14.
“Conducting space vehicle initialization and achieving mission readiness in record time demonstrates a dramatic shift in the way we deliver and operate in, from, and to space,” said Col Erik Stockham, senior materiel leader, Acquisition Delta Space Warfighting at Space Systems Command. “The VICTUS NOX team’s unwavering focus on speed, while maintaining quality and safety standards, proves that we can respond to warfighting needs on tactically relevant timelines.”
“VICTUS NOX is a critical measure toward ensuring advantage through a resilient space order of battle in any environment,” said Jason Kim, chief executive officer, of Millennium Space Systems. “With the initial phases complete, we’re now in VICTUS NOX full-mission operations. This program is paving the way for future Tactically Responsive Space missions.”
As with any mission, the first exciting moment is making initial contact with the satellite. The Millennium team accomplished that on the satellite’s first scheduled contact. From there, the team went into a vigorous initialization phase to enable space domain awareness operations.
“What made VICTUS NOX more exciting than usual was getting the satellite online in such a rapid timeline, and we were able to do that in 37 hours,” said Andrew Chau, VICTUS NOX program manager, Millennium Space Systems. “To achieve this on the heels of near back-to-back activation and launch phases is an amazing feat to prove out a tactically responsive space capability.”
The success of VICTUS NOX is attributed to continuous collaboration between Millennium Space Systems, Firefly Aerospace, Space Operations Command, Space Readiness and Training Command, and Space Systems Command, including the Space Safari Program Office and the Small Launch and Targets Division.
The company’s ability to quickly pivot and deliver VICTUS NOX on unprecedented timelines demonstrates alignment with Department of Defense and Space Force capability requirements. Millennium Space Systems and its parent company, Boeing, are delivering resilient capabilities across all segments of the national security space architecture to maintain the nation’s space advantage, from tactically responsive space and missile warning and tracking to protected satellite communications.
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