the US space force awarded the first launch of the Orbital Services Program (OSP) -4 to three new small satellite launch providers: ABL space systems, Astra Space, and Relativity space. The Rocket Systems launch program office, part of the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) launch company announced the award on Monday.
This is an indeterminate delivery / indeterminate quantity contract that allows the Space Force to rapidly acquire launch services for missions with mission requirements for payloads greater than 400 pounds to launch on any which orbit within 12 to 24 months of the assignment of the task order.
These launch providers can now compete for future individual OSP missions against launchers previously awarded this contract. SMC Launch Enterprise initially awarded the OSP-4 contract in October 2019 to Aevum, Black Firefly, Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, Rocket Lab United States, EspaceX, United launch alliance, VOX space (subsidiary of Virgin Orbit), and X-Bow Launch Systems.
“This program uses a low barrier to entry for mature launch vendors and emerging companies that are about a year away from their launch capacity,” said Lt. Col. Justin Beltz, Head of Small Launch and Launch Enterprise Targets. “We are using this IDIQ contract to continue to introduce speed, agility and flexibility into the launch business and continue to cultivate a resilient and affordable launch market.”
The US Space Force has previously assigned two missions on OSP-4 with the Space Test Program (STP) -S28 mission to VOX Space and Tactically Responsive Launch (TacRL) -2 mission to Northrop Grumman, and plans to provide approximately 20 missions to during the nine year order period.
Relativity commented on its selection: “Competition fuels innovation and we see this as an important and next step in expanding our ability to serve the US Department of Defense,” said Josh Brost, vice president of business development at Relativity.