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US picks SpaceX and ULA for NSSL Phase 2

10th August 2020 - 11:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


United Launch Alliance (ULA) and SpaceX rockets will be used to launch US Space Force payloads under National Security Space Launch (NSSL) Phase 2, the DoD announced on 7 August.

Unsuccessful bidders for the $653 million contract were Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman.

NSSL Phase 2 involves four launches between 2023 and 2028 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Vandenberg AFB.

ULA received a slightly larger portion  (60%, or $337 million) of the launch services contract. It will use its new Vulcan Centaur engines, which are currently under development to supersede Russian-made RD-180s.

Vulcan Centaur is scheduled to undergo initial test launches in 2021.

SpaceX won a $316 million contract to use its Falcon 9 (pictured) and Falcon Heavy rockets.

‘Maintaining a competitive launch market, servicing both government and commercial customers, is how we encourage continued innovation on assured access to space.’ noted Dr William Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.

He added that it was important to wean the space launch sector away from using Russian-made engines.

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The Shephard News Team


The Shephard News Team

As part of our promise to deliver comprehensive coverage to Premium News and Defence Insight …

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