Mon. Oct 2nd, 2023
Space Force’s Victus Nox Satellite Successfully Launched within 24-Hour Window

Firefly Aerospace’s Alpha FLTA003 successfully deployed the Victus Nox satellite into orbit on September 14 at 7:28 p.m. PDT from Space Launch Complex 2 West (SLC-2W) at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif. This launch marked the Space Force’s mission to turn around a satellite launch within a 24-hour window.

The Space Systems Command (SSC) and Firefly Aerospace collaborated to accomplish this feat. They encapsulated a Millennium Space Systems-built space vehicle, mated it to Firefly’s Alpha launch vehicle, and completed all final launch preparations in 24 hours. The actual process took 27 hours due to the wait for the launch window to open.

The Victus Nox satellite, contracted by SSC last September, will provide space domain awareness data to the Space Force. It is part of the TacRS-3 “operational” experiment and was produced by Millennium. The launch was managed by SSC’s Space Safari office, established to respond to urgent launch needs.

Responsive launch, the ability to launch on demand, has been a longstanding goal for the Pentagon. In the past, Defense Department space launches took years to prepare. However, the Victus Nox launch achieved a turnaround time of just over a day, setting a new record for the Space Force.

Lt. Col. MacKenzie Birchenough, Space Safari materiel leader, emphasized the significance of this mission in meeting emerging challenges in space. The advancement of TacRS capabilities represents a paradigm shift for the National Security Space enterprise.

The process leading up to the launch was executed swiftly. Millennium and Firefly entered a “hot standby” phase after being contracted, and once given the go-notice by SSC, the satellite underwent testing, fueling, and mating with the launch adapter in under 58 hours. The contractors and the SSC team remained on alert round the clock, awaiting the launch order.

With the successful deployment of the Victus Nox satellite, the next objective is for it to begin operations within 48 hours. This mission exemplifies the progress made in addressing the challenges of space exploration and underscores the National Security Space enterprise’s commitment to responsiveness.