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US Space Force Announces Evaluation Methodology for Assets

Joint USAF Effort Provides Instruction for Test Pilots in Assessing Space Force Equipment

The US Air and Space Forces have created a new "Space Test Course", an evaluation to provide guidance on "robust and methodical system testing on space-flight equipment" for use at the Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

The new course was signed into being by both Space Force Vice Chief of Space Operations General David D. Thompson and Air Force Vice Chief of Staff General David W. Allvin on February 23rd. “Ensuring our Guardians can effectively test and validate space-flight equipment is crucial to mission success and protecting the space domain for the Joint Force,” said Thompson.

The agreement comes into being after half a decade of effort to develop a streamlined set of criteria to share between the services. General Allvin said the choice was a natural one, given the carryover between the nascent USSF and its parent, the USAF.
“The Air Force and Space Force will always be linked through our heritage. This MOA represents another way our partnership will build a better combat-ready force.”

The completed Space Test Course was developed under the leadership of Space Force Colonel Michael Hopkins, USSF Test and Evaluation director, and Colonel Sebrina Pabon, USAF Test Pilot School Commandant, as a way to provide criteria suitably focused on space performance.

“I am extremely proud of what the team has accomplished and am looking forward to the official partnership between the Air Force and Space Force for Space Test and Evaluation education and training,” said Pabon.

Those enrolled in the 12-month program will be given formal instruction and practical experience covering the full spectrum of testing and evaluating mission systems and essential elements of the space domain. Students will cover new ground above their previous aeronautical studies on topics like orbital mechanics, the electromagnetic spectrum, sensor sciences, and environmental considerations required in the cold vacuum of space. The curriculum will stray a bit from the usual fare found at the Test Pilot School, with a focus on an integrated testing approach suited to uncrewed spaceborne assets. The school often focuses more on the process, the long development of new designs and technologies as they move to maturation - but the new focus will look at immediate capability and lifecycle considerations as they are in the present.




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