TRANSCOM to hold space lift industry day

By Michael Marrow / February 10, 2023 at 10:35 AM

Officials at U.S. Transportation Command will host industry day presentations on March 1-3 to gain insight into capabilities that can use rockets to move cargo across the globe.

The Feb. 7 TRANSCOM industry day notice states officials are interested in learning more about the “wide spectrum of emerging commercial space systems” that can rapidly deliver cargo to far-flung areas, building off current efforts to advance rocket-powered cargo initiatives.

TRANSCOM has been studying the topic for years through Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) with several commercial space companies. First signed with SpaceX in 2020, the CRADAs were also launched with five other partners: XArc, Blue Origin, Sierra Space Corporation, Virgin Orbit and Rocket Lab.

The notice states TRANSCOM does not have the capacity to issue any more CRADAs, adding that companies with an active agreement do not need to respond.

Rocket cargo capabilities are also being studied through the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Vanguard effort to field futuristic technologies. AFRL has struck several agreements with companies including SpaceX -- which was awarded a $102 million contract in January 2022 -- to study different aspects of moving cargo with rockets. The industry day notice states companies participating in these efforts similarly do not need to respond.

Companies interested in attending the industry day are asked to prepare details on topics like timelines for commercial availability, estimates of future launch costs and infrastructure needed to execute operations.

The notice states no information above Controlled Unclassified Information may be discussed and that vendors who want to participate in the industry day must respond by Feb. 22. The 12 slots for presentations will be available first-come, first-served, the notice adds.