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Posted 5/10/2013 Printable Fact Sheet
Launch Systems Directorate
Launch Systems Directorate
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The Launch Systems Directorate's mission is to acquire, operate and sustain affordable expendable launch and range capability providing 100 percent mission success. 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/LR 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 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/LR has a unique dual-reporting chain. The SMC/LR 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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