ACCESS: Above Top Secret
- Jan 21, 2015
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Air Force awards launch vehicle development contracts to Blue Origin, Northrop Grumman, ULA
The Air Force plans to issue a solicitation for phase 2 in 2019 and make its selections in 2020. Only two will be selected to continue to receive OTA funds. Of the three winners of this phase, the one that does not win phase 2 will not be able to get the full amount of OTA funding that the Air Force announced it would commit.
Asked why SpaceX did not make the cut, Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisitions, said the company is an “important member of our launch team” and can choose to bid again in phase 2.
“Not getting LSA funds does not prevent them from competing,” Roper told reporters at a Pentagon news conference.
“The goal of this OTA is to make sure we have a competitive industrial base,” Roper said. His comments suggest that SpaceX may have been left out because its rockets are mature and the Air Force preferred to spend OTA dollars on new vehicles to add to the mix.
“When we get to phase 2, we’re ready to buy launch services, in block buys of five years,” Roper said. “When we get to phase 2 we want to make sure there’s competition.”
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