SMC seeking small-launch providers for rapid, flexible launch program

By Courtney Albon / August 16, 2019 at 3:46 PM

The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center released a request for proposals this week seeking bids for its Orbital Services Program-4, which will establish a small pool of contractors to support rapid, small launches over the next nine years.

The service expects to procure about 20 small launch missions through the contract over the life of the contract, according to an Aug. 14 press release. The contract is a follow-on to OSP-3, which awarded five missions and is set to expire in November. Proposals are due Aug. 29, and the Air Force will choose its contractor pool by the end of the year.

Launches contracted through OSP-4 will fly within 12 and 24 months from the issuance of each task order and will all be awarded competitively, the release states.

SMC spokesman Jim Spellman told Inside Defense in an Aug. 15 email the service has identified the first task order to be competed through OSP-4 -- a Space Test Program mission that will launch multiple nanosatellites. He said the contract "is intentionally designed to be flexible and responsible to warfighter requirements."

Past OSP missions have helped demonstrate industry innovation and SMC expects the contracting tool will lead to a more affordable, reliable national security space launch enterprise.

"We believe OSP-4 will be equally successful as a showcase for industry innovation and a gateway to even more affordable space launch because we are able to take more risks, more quickly to produce high rewards for the launch enterprise," Lt. Col. Lynn Rose, chief of the small launch and targets division at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM, said in the press release.