Boeing Lands $104M DARPA Satellite Launch Program

ALASA

DARPA image

Boeing (NYSE: BA) will work with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop and test an airborne launching system for deploying small satellites under a potential $104 million contract.

The contract contains $30,673,934 in base funds and two option periods that are separately worth $72,044,948 and $2,032,857, DARPA said in a Monday FedBizOpps notice.

DARPA started the Airborne Launch Assist Space Access program to develop a complete launch vehicle that needs no recurring maintenance, support or specific integration work.

Through ALASA, the agency aims to launch satellites that weigh 100 pounds each for less than $1 million total for orbits that are selected specifically for each 100-pound payload.

Small satellite payloads currently cost more than $30,000 per pound to launch and always share a launcher with other satellites, the agency says.

ALASA’s goals also include work to leverage emerging technologies to provide:

  • increased specific impulse propellants
  • stable propellant formulations
  • hybrid propellant systems
  • potential “infrastructure-free” cryogen production
  • new motor case materials
  • new flight controls and mission planning techniques
  • new nozzle designs
  • improved thrust vectoring methods
  • new throttling approaches

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