Using solid propulsion, Pegasus allows a rapid launch to a wide range of orbits. This enables operations to be carried out from nearly any location on Earth with minimal ground support. To date, the rocket has successfully launched more than 90 satellites into low-Earth orbit from five different launch locations in Europe, U.S., and the Marshall Islands.
Space Force's Tactically Responsive Launch mission seeks to introduce speed, agility, and flexibility to adapt to dynamic changes in the space environment. It also attempts to insert or replace assets on orbit considerably faster than standard timescales to satisfy evolving combatant command requirements.
"The space domain is defined by speed," says Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond. "When I challenged the Space and Missile Systems Center about a year ago to demonstrate a responsive space capability, they accepted and delivered! The team presented an integrated Space Domain Awareness satellite ready for launch in record time; what normally would have required two to five years, took 11 months."
The mission is managed by SMC's new Space Safari Program Office. What Space Safari does is to rapidly combine existing technology and systems in order to adapt to particular space demands. In the case of TacRL-2, it successfully proved an end-to-end approach to tactically responsive missions by rapidly obtaining and integrating the space vehicle, launch vehicle, payloads, ground elements, and performing on-orbit planning.
While further information regarding the payload itself was not provided, the Tactically Responsive Launch represents the U.S. Space Force's first step toward obtaining a tactical space mobility and logistics capability to meet future tactical spacepower requirements. Additionally, the insight gained will improve upcoming TacRL missions with the Space Safari office planned to launch next year and in 2023.