The Ministry of Defense follows SpaceX and the United Launch Alliance as its two primary launch services for the United States’ national security mission for the foreseeable future.
In an announcement Friday (August 7) US Air Force and Air Force officials said that SpaceX and ULA have won billions in military launches potentially worth launching national security payloads over the next five years, with ULA receiving 60% of the satellite launch agreements and SpaceX receiving 40 %.
The awards were part of a four-way launch service competition known as the National Security Space Launch Phase 2 Launch Service Procurement was announced in 201
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SpaceX was actually left out of the first round, with the Air Force granting development dollars to ULA, Northrop Grumman and Blue origin to the amount of $ 967 million, $ 792 million and $ 500 million, respectively. But the California-based rocket builder eventually won a piece of the prize.
“This was an extremely tough decision and I appreciate the hard work that has been completed to adapt their commercial launch system to meet our more stressful national security requirements in an affordable and reliable way,” said colleague Robert Bongiovi, Head of Space and Missile Systems Center Launch. Enterprise, said in a statement.
The Air Force selected SpaceX’s existing Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets for national security shooters, along with ULA’s new Vulcan Centaur rocket, which is still under development. Currently expected to do its thing first flight 2021, ULA’s Vulcan Centaur will end the country’s confidence in the Russian – built RD-180 engine currently used by the company’s current workhorse, the Atlas V rocket.
The Ministry of Defense has tried to end the reliance on the Russian engine and awarded ULA the first development funding to help develop the new rocket. Vulcan Centaur will be powered by one Blue Origin BE-4 engine.
So far, the Air Force has ordered three missions for 2022 according to the new offers. SpaceX will earn $ 316 million to launch a USSF-67 mission in the latter part of 2022. ULA was awarded $ 337 million to launch two missions – USSF-51 and USSF-106 – scheduled for the second and fourth quarters. of the financial year 2022 respectively.
Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman both expressed disappointment that they were not selected in the Phase 2 contracts, but are expected to continue the development of their respective launch vehicles. Blue Origin is currently developing a new orbital rocket, New Glenn, while Northrop Grumman is developing OmegA boosters for future launches.
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