Draft solicitation for national security space launch services expected in early 2023

Brig. Gen. Stephen Purdy mentioned DoD has to approve the technique earlier than a draft request for proposals may be launched

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The U.S. Area Pressure is working to finalize a procurement technique for the subsequent nationwide safety launch companies contracts anticipated to be awarded in 2024. 

A draft request for trade proposals might be issued as early as February 2023, Brig. Gen. Stephen Purdy, the Area Pressure’s program government officer for assured entry to area, instructed SpaceNews on the sidelines of the Air, Area & Cyber convention. 

Earlier than the Area Methods Command can launch a draft request for proposals, the technique must be permitted by the Division of Protection, mentioned Purdy. “We are attempting to get everybody at DoD to agree … there are numerous stakeholders.”

The technique now being reviewed is for the Nationwide Safety Area Launch (NSSL) Part 3 contracts. United Launch Alliance and SpaceX gained Part 2 in 2020, and their present contracts might be re-competed in 2024.

Officials have said they might contemplate altering the NSSL program to make the most of new launch suppliers coming into the market. One other potential twist in Part 3 is that the Area Pressure may contemplate shopping for not solely conventional launch companies from Earth to orbit but additionally in-space transportation companies.

One choice being mentioned is to pick out a number of distributors to compete for job orders, a way the Area Pressure makes use of to buy smallsat launch services beneath the Rocket Methods Launch Program (RSLP). This system additionally permits new suppliers to be added if the federal government decides it wants extra rivals. 

Purdy’s workplace on the Area Methods Command has been doing market analysis in preparation for Part 3. In January it issued a request to industry providers asking for details about their capabilities.  

Chief of Area Operations Gen. John “Jay” Raymond in a keynote speech Tuesday at Air, Area & Cyber convention, mentioned the Area Pressure’s launch ranges at Cape Canaveral, Florida, and Vandenberg Area Pressure Base, California, are on monitor this 12 months to conduct greater than 60 launches from the East Coast and as many as 18 from the West Coast. 

“Within the subsequent few years, projections present that these numbers will soar to roughly 300 launches a 12 months,” he mentioned. “Simply take into consideration that, simply shy of 1 launch per day.”


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