The Air Force announced today the award of two Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) launch service contracts. Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) has been awarded a $290,594,130 firm-fixed-price contract, for launch services to deliver three GPS III missions (1 base and 2 options) to the intended orbit. United Launch Alliance (ULA) has been awarded a $351,839,510 firm-fixed-price contract, for launch services to deliver Air Force Space Command (AFSPC)-8 and AFSPC-12 satellites to the intended orbit. Both contracts provide the Government with a total launch solution for these missions, which includes launch vehicle production, mission integration, launch operations, and spaceflight certification. These missions are planned to be launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station or Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
This is the fourth competition under the current Phase 1A procurement strategy. These launch service contract awards strike a balance between meeting operational needs and lowering launch costs through reintroducing competition for National Security Space missions.
“The competitive award of these two EELV launch service contracts directly supports Space and Missile Systems Center’s (SMC’s) mission of delivering resilient and affordable space capabilities to our Nation while maintaining assured access to space,” said Lt Gen John F. Thompson, Air Force Program Executive Officer for Space and SMC commander.
The three GPS III missions will deliver sustained, reliable GPS capabilities to America’s warfighters, our allies, and civil users. GPS provides positioning, navigation, and timing service to civil and military users worldwide. The GPS III missions are planned to launch between late 2019 and 2020.
The AFSPC-8 mission comprises two identical Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) satellites, known as GSSAP 5 & 6. AFSPC-8 is planned to launch in 2020 into a geosynchronous orbit.
The AFSPC-12 mission comprises a forward space vehicle (SV) and an aft SV. The forward SV is known as the Wide Field of View (WFOV) Testbed and the aft SV is a propulsive Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA) that hosts auxiliary payloads. AFSPC-12 is planned to launch in 2020 into a geosynchronous orbit.
The Air Force Space Command's Space and Missile Systems Center, located at the Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the U.S. Air Force's center of excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. Its portfolio includes the Global Positioning System, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control networks, space-based infrared systems, and space situational awareness capabilities.