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Posted 10/16/2015 Printable Fact Sheet
SMC/LE shield
Space and Missile Systems Center's Launch Systems Enterprise (SMC/LE) shield. In accordance with AFI 84-105, chapter 3, commercial reproduction of this emblem is NOT permitted without the permission of the organization's commander.
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The Space and Missile Systems Center's newest directorate, the Launch Systems Enterprise Directorate (SMC/LE), was stood up during a ceremony held at SMC's Schriever Space Complex at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, Calif. on Oct. 14, 2015. Under the leadership of Dr. Claire Leon, the new directorate brings together the Launch Systems Directorate and the Rocket Systems Launch Program, which formerly fell under SMC's Advance Systems and Development Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. This realignment will not only advance SMC's capability development, but will feed into the next generation of SMC's space systems and into architectural baselines for decades to come.

During the ceremony, the new directorate's shield was unveiled. The design features a dragon, which is the Launch Directorate's mascot. The bullseye symbolizes delivering the spacecraft into the perfect orbit. The four stars symbolize the four types of rocket configurations (heavy, medium, light and extra light). One of the stars resembles the star featured in the California state flag, symbolizing where SMC is located. Another star is the Zia Sun, a symbol of the indigenous tribe centered at Zia Pueblo, an Indian reservation in New Mexico that is found on the state flag and the AD Directorate logo located at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, N.M. The single deltoid symbol symbolizes the launch vehicle.  The motto" Per Audacia Ad Astra" means "Through Boldness to the Stars."

The Launch Systems Enterprise Directorate's mission is to be the guardian of assured access: launching when and where the nation needs it. LE's vision statement is to be the most respected and innovative spacelift team, delivering mission success while enabling a robust U.S. launch industry This capability provides assured access to space for the nation.

The Directorate manages the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle for the Air Force. As the Air Force's spacelift modernization program, EELV was designed to increase reliability and reduce launch costs by at least 25 percent over heritage Atlas, Delta and Titan space launch systems. The EELV program was initiated in 1994 and continues today with launch capability provided by the Delta IV and Atlas V launch vehicles and their associated launch sites. In March 2012, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics issued an Acquisition Decision Memorandum designating EELV as an Acquisition Category ID Major Defense Acquisition Program. In FY12, the program budget was $1.7 billion; the President's FY13 Budget Request also includes $1.7 billion for the program.

While the primary focus of SMC/LE is the acquisition and operation of Delta IV and Atlas V launch vehicles, the Directorate is also leading an effort to certify "new entrants" to provide launch services for National Security payloads. The Air Force, National Reconnaissance Office, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration are jointly implementing this initiative. 2012 marked the tenth anniversary of the first EELV launch. Since 2002, there have been 54 successful Atlas V and Delta IV launches. Of those 54 launches, 30 have been EELV National Security Space launches in support of the Navy, National Reconnaissance Office and the Air Force.


The SMC/LE Directorate is part of the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., and is home to, or supported by, more than 540 government, military, aerospace and contractor personnel. SMC/LE has a unique dual-reporting chain. The SMC/LE director reports to the PEO for Space Launch who maintains primary responsibility for the EELV program. The director and his staff also report to the SMC commander who retains all operational authorities and responsibilities for launch readiness and spaceworthiness certifications.

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