Air Force awards $986M contract for rapid, flexible launch

By Courtney Albon / October 11, 2019 at 11:13 AM

The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center on Thursday awarded eight companies a contract worth $986 million to refresh a rapid launch services tool aimed at enabling the service to launch satellites to orbit within one or two years of an initial task order.

The Orbital Services Program-4 (OSP-4) contractor pool includes SpaceX, Xbow Launch Systems, Northrop Grumman, Firefly Black, United Launch Alliance, Aevum, VOX Space and Rocket Lab USA. The indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract has a nine-year ordering period.

OSP-4 is a follow-on to OSP-3, which awarded five missions and is set to expire next month.

Inside Defense reported in August that the service had identified a Space Test Program mission as the first OSP-4 task order.

The program, managed by SMC's launch enterprise and small launch and targets division at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM, is meant to launch small- and medium-class payloads and is designed to be responsive to warfighter requirements.

"The contract seeks to capitalize on the emerging small launch providers while providing dedicated and primary launch services to the Department of Defense and other government agencies," this week's contract announcement states.