Update: US Space Force picks ULA, SpaceX for Phase 2 launch awards

by Pat Host

The US Space Force (USSF) on 7 August awarded contracts to United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Space Exploration Technologies Corp (SpaceX) to provide launch services to the Pentagon.

The Phase 2 procurement contracts, which are firm-fixed price and indefinite delivery requirements awards, are for launch orders starting in fiscal year (FY) 2020 through 2024, with the first missions launching in FY 2022, according to the USSF. ULA will receive a requirements contract for roughly 60% of launch service orders while SpaceX will receive a requirements contract for about 40% of launch service orders over the contract period.

US Air Force (USAF) spokesperson Jacob Bailey said on 11 August that the USSF estimates ordering roughly 34 missions during the Phase 2 contract’s five-year ordering period. The number of missions, he said, is only an estimate because the manifest often changes based on multiple considerations, such as operational requirements, constellation health, space vehicle readiness, and available funding.

United Launch Alliance will use the Centaur second stage with its new Vulcan launch vehicle for Phase 2 launches instead of the next-generation Advanced Common Evolved Stage (ACES) upper stage. (ULA)

United Launch Alliance will use the Centaur second stage with its new Vulcan launch vehicle for Phase 2 launches instead of the next-generation Advanced Common Evolved Stage (ACES) upper stage. (ULA)

ULA has been assigned mission USSF-51, scheduled for launch in the second quarter of FY 2022, and USSF-106, which is scheduled for launch in the fourth quarter FY 2022. SpaceX was assigned mission USSF-67, which is slated for launch in the fourth quarter of FY 2022.

ULA was awarded USD337 million by the USSF on 7 August for its two missions while SpaceX received USD316 million for its single mission. ULA spokesperson Jessica Rye said on 10 August that the company’s baseline is the Vulcan launch vehicle for its two missions. SpaceX did not return a request for comment prior to publication.

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The US Space Force (USSF) on 7 August awarded contracts to United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Space Ex...

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