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Will Roper Assistant Secretary USAF

ULA, SpaceX Win Launch Service Phase 2 Contracts; Will Roper Quoted  

The U.S. Space Force has awarded United Launch Services and SpaceX firm-fixed-price contracts to perform launch services under the second phase of the National Security Space Launch program.

The Department of Defense said Friday ULA secured $337M in task orders and SpaceX received $316M in task orders under the NSSL Phase 2 indefinite-delivery requirements contract, which covers early integration studies, fleet surveillance, launch service support, launch vehicle production, mission integration, mission assurance, mission launch operations and spaceflight worthiness.

The service’s Space and Missile Systems Center received four bids for the NSSL Phase 2 contract, which seeks to support planned launches from fiscal year 2022 through FY 2027. SMC will procure future launch support services annually through subsequent task orders.

ULA, a joint venture of Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), and SpaceX will perform work through March 2028 at their respective facilities in Colorado and California and at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

“Maintaining a competitive launch market, servicing both government and commercial customers, is how we encourage continued innovation on assured access to space. Today’s awards mark a new epoch of space launch that will finally transition the Department off Russian RD-180 engines,” Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics and a 2020 Wash100 Award winner, said in a statement published Friday.

The Air Force announced that ULA will get approximately 60 percent of orders for launch services and SpaceX will receive the remaining 40 percent during the contract period. The task orders announced Friday include two ULA launches and one SpaceX mission slated for launch by FY 2022.

“This acquisition will maintain our unprecedented mission success record, transition National Security Space payloads to new launch vehicles, assure access for current and future space architectures, and cultivate innovative mission assurance practices,” said Lt. Gen. John “JT” Thompson, commander of SMC and program executive officer for space. 

Johnson said in June that the Space Force was on track to award by summer the NSSL Phase 2 contracts to two launch service providers. The service issued a solicitation for the program in May 2019 and ULA, SpaceX, Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) and Blue Origin also submitted their bids.

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