Ken Kremer — SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM — 19 February 2019
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL – The United States Air Force has awarded a pair of launch service
contracts worth a total of $739 million to its two certified launch providers –
ULA and SpaceX for several national security launches each.
“The United States Air Force’s
Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), in partnership with the National
Reconnaissance Office (NRO), awarded two Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle
(EELV) launch service contracts today,” according to a Feb 19 Air Force
Perhaps to keeping things
balanced and competition alive and healthy each company was awarded 3 national
security launch contracts.
million firm-fixed-price contract, for launch services to deliver AFSPC-44,
NROL-85, and NROL-87 to the intended orbit.
ULA has been awarded a $441.76
million firm-fixed-price contract, for launch services to deliver SBIRS GEO-5,
SBIRS GEO-6, and SILENTBARKER to the intended orbit.
ULA had a near monopoly on
national security launches with the Atlas V and Delta IV families of rockets until
the SpaceX Falcon 9 was certified by the USAF in 2015 and the Falcon Heavy in 2018 for EELV launches.
Since then both firms have been
in a healthy competition and conducted multiple successful launches.
Both contracts provide the U.S.
Government with a total launch solution for these missions, which includes
launch vehicle production, mission integration, launch operations, and
spaceflight certification, says the AF.
“The competitive award of
these EELV launch service contracts directly supports SMC’s mission of
delivering resilient and affordable space capabilities to our Nation while
maintaining assured access to space” said Lt. Gen. John Thompson, SMC
Commander, and Program Executive Officer for Space, in a statement.
the space enterprise to respond to the rapidly evolving operating
is proud that the Air Force has chosen our company to support
our country’s defense with these critical national security space
launches and to continue providing the best value in launch with the proven
Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy vehicles, “ said Gwynne Shotwell, President
and Chief Operating Officer at SpaceX in a statement.
This is the sixth competition
under the current Phase 1A procurement strategy. These launch service contract
awards strike a balance between meeting operational needs and lowering launch
costs through reintroducing competition for National Security, says the AF.
Here’s an outline of the
FY2021 from the Eastern Range.
FY2021 from the Western Range
FY2022 from the Eastern Range
FY2021 from the Eastern Range
the ULA contract with a possible launch in FY2022 from the Eastern Range
FY2021 from the Eastern Range
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Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida and Wallops Flight
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Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC
area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space
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Falcon GPS 3-01, SpaceX Falcon Heavy & Falcon 9 launches, upcoming SpaceX
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