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​The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center and United Launch Alliance signed a cooperative research and development agreement Sept. 27 to facilitate the Lockheed Martin and Boeing consortium’s attempt to certify its Vulcan rocket for National Security Space launches. The agreement allows for data exchanges and protects proprietary export-controlled data, according to an SMC release. It also contains a detailed certification plan, which calls for SMC to monitor at least two certification flights to meet the requirements of the new entrant certification guide. SMC expects to also sign CRADAs with SpaceX for its Falcon Heavy rocket and Orbital-ATK for its Next Generation Launcher, according to the release. The Air Force has entered into public-private partnerships with these companies to end reliance on the Russian-made RD-180 rocket engine and to have multiple domestic launch providers that are certified for National Security Space launches.