Sept. 4, 2020
Evaluation of the Air Force’s Certification of Space Launch Vehicles (DODIG-2020-126)
Publicly Released: September 9, 2020
The objective of this evaluation was to determine whether Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) officials complied with the Air Force Launch Services New Entrant Certification Guide (NECG) when certifying the launch system designs for the National Security Space Launch (NSSL) class (formerly known as the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle class) SpaceX Falcon family of launch vehicles. Additionally, during the evaluation we expanded the objective to also determine whether SMC officials applied the design validation approach in the NECG to three other space launch providers’ new entrant launch vehicles that were in development: Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, United Launch Alliance, and Blue Origin, LLC. During the evaluation, these three launch providers’ certification processes were still in progress.