1/13/2016 - LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Today the Space and Missile Systems Center awarded the first two Other Transaction Agreements (OTAs) for shared public-private investments in Rocket Propulsion System (RPS) prototypes to SpaceX for development testing of the Raptor upper stage engine and Orbital ATK for development of the Common Booster Segment main stage, the Graphite Epoxy Motor (GEM) 63XL strap-on booster, and an extendable nozzle for Blue Origin's BE-3U/EN upper stage engine. The initial government contribution to the SpaceX OTA is $33.6 million. The initial government contribution to the Orbital ATK OTA is $46.9 million. The Air Force is still in negotiations with the remaining offerors and subsequent awards, if any, will occur over the next few months. The OTA awards are part of a comprehensive Air Force plan to transition off the Russian- supplied RD-180 propulsion system used on the Atlas V rocket by investing in industry solutions with the ultimate goal to competitively procure launch services in a domestic launch market.
"Having two or more domestic, commercially viable launch providers that
also meet national security space requirements is our end goal," said
Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, the Air Force's Program Executive Officer for
Space and SMC commander. "These awards are essential in order to
solidify U.S. assured access to space, transition the EELV program away
from strategic foreign reliance, and support the U.S. launch industry's
commercial viability in the global market."
The Air Force will award a portfolio of investments in industry's RPS
solutions, which vary depending on what industry proposed. The
solicitation allowed companies to submit proposals for the development
of a RPS prototype, which ranged from full development of a new RPS,
modifications to an existing RPS to meet NSS requirements, smaller
projects to address high risk items for an RPS or subcomponents, or
activities required to test or qualify a new or existing RPS to meet
EELV requirements. Therefore, the value of each agreement varies
depending on what was proposed. At least one third of the total cost of
the RPS prototype project will be paid out of funds provided by parties
to the transactions other than the federal government.
These RPS investments, which will initially occur over the course of
12-18 months, will build the foundation for future investments in
industry launch system solutions and launch service commitments from
invested companies. Concurrently, the Air Force will continue to award
launch services contracts to certified providers who demonstrate the
capability to design, produce, qualify, and deliver launch systems and
provide the mission assurance support required to deliver national
security space satellites to orbit.
Air Force Space Command's Space and Missile Systems Center, located at
Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the U.S. Air Force's center of
acquisition 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.