A National Guard C130J drops fire retardant as the Glass Fire burns about a mile out of downtown Calistoga, Calif., on Sept. 30, 2020.

A National Guard C130J drops fire retardant as the Glass Fire burns about a mile out of downtown Calistoga, Calif., on Sept. 30, 2020. East Bay Times via Getty Images / Jane Tyska / Digital First Media

The Air & Space Brief: Starliner cleared for launch, Lockheed loses $225M on secret project, Wildfires alter Guard training

Hello and welcome to Defense One’s Air Force and Space Force newsletter. Here are our top stories of the week: 

Lockheed loss: Lockheed Martin lost $225 million on a classified military project due to “performance issues,” Defense One’s Marcus Weisgerber reports. Executives said the secret effort is in the development stage and being worked on by its aeronautics division, the same section that delivered the SR-71 Blackbird and the F-117 Nighthawk. 

Wildfire training: The growing intensity of wildfire season on the West Coast has forced the National Guard to change the way it prepares aircraft and service members to fight those blazes. “We used to talk about fire season,” Chief of the National Guard Bureau Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson said. “It’s really a fire year now.”  

New vaccine policy: The Pentagon must determine “how and when” the vaccine will be mandated for all service members, President Joe Biden announced Thursday. Deputy press secretary Jamal Brown said the Pentagon will “begin consulting our medical professionals, as well as the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to determine how and when to make recommendations to the president with respect to adding the COVID-19 vaccines to the full list of requirements for military personnel.” 

Boeing’s Starliner is set for Tuesday launch to the international space station, Space.com reports. It’s a critical flight for the Starliner, which failed its previous unmanned test. If this unmanned launch is successful, it “would pave the way for three NASA astronauts to launch later this year.” 

Sign up to get The Air & Space Brief every Monday from Tara Copp, Defense One’s Senior Pentagon Reporter. On Aug. 2, 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait, which ultimately led to the Gulf War and Operation Desert Storm. 

From Defense One

Lockheed Loses $225M on Secret Project, Lowers F-35 Production Forecast // Marcus Weisgerber: Company will press ahead on aeronautics project in hopes of turning it into a profitable production program.

Wildfires Are So Dangerous Now that the National Guard Prepares for Them Like Hurricanes // Tara Copp: For West Coast units, there’s no wildfire season anymore. ‘It’s really a fire year now,’ top general says.

For US Troops, Getting COVID Vaccine Is Now a Matter of 'How and When' // Tara Copp: President tells Pentagon to add COVID to list of required vaccinations. He also imposed requirements on federal employees and contractors who decline to get vaccinated.