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Space Force Picks 3 Companies for On-Ramp Orbital Launch Services IDIQ

The U.S. Space Force has named ABL Space Systems, Astra Space and Relativity Space as the first on-ramp awardees on the Orbital Services Program-4 contract vehicle as part of efforts to expand the pool of vendors that could help launch payloads larger than 400 pounds to orbit within one to two years from task order award.

The service said Monday OSP-4 is an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract meant to enable the branch to rapidly acquire launch services to address mission requirements.

In October 2019, the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Launch Enterprise initially selected eight companies to compete for task orders under the potential nine-year, $986 million OSP-4 contract. Those vendors are Aevum, Firefly Black, Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC), Rocket Lab, SpaceX, United Launch Alliance, VOX Space and X-Bow Launch Systems.

“We use this IDIQ contract to continue to introduce speed, agility, and flexibility into the launch enterprise and continue to cultivate a resilient and affordable launch market,” said Lt. Col. Justin Beltz, chief of Launch Enterprise’s small launch and targets division.

The Space Force launched the on-ramping process for the contract in February. The latest award brings the total number of vendors on the IDIQ contract to 11, making them eligible to compete for approximately 20 missions over the next nine years.

The service recently awarded the Space Test Program-S28 mission to VOX Space and the Tactically Responsive Launch-2 mission to Northrop.

SMC’s Launch Enterprise expects to award the task order for STP’s USSF-46S mission later in the summer of 2021.

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