The US Space Force has awarded SpaceX and United Launch Alliance contracts worth $385 million for four launch missions as part of the National Security Space Launch (NSSL) phase 2 contract.
The US Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) worked with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) to conclude the second order of the five-year Phase 2 ordering period that will bring the total number of launches to seven so far.
SpaceX will support the USSF-36 and NROL-69 missions using the Falcon 9 launch vehicle, while ULA will support the USSF-112 and USSF-87 missions with its Vulcan Centaur launch vehicle.
USSF-36 has a scheduled launch date in the second quarter of FY23, NROL-69 in the fourth quarter of FY23, USSF-112 in the third quarter of FY23, and USSF-87 in the fourth quarter of FY23.
ULA will receive $225 million to provide basic launch services and mission integration, while SpaceX will receive $160 million for its two launches. SMC noted that SpaceX would provide basic launch services and mission integration for USSF-36 and only basic launch services for NROL-69. The NRO will fund its mission integration separately.
“Today, we are making it possible for our National Security Space team to accomplish our mission of providing on-orbit space capability to the warfighter,” said Col. Robert Bongiovi, director of SMC’s Launch Enterprise. “This is the second order of the five-year Phase 2 ordering period. We are very pleased with the flexibility offered by our Phase 2 providers to make the best launch choices and adjustments as we proceed.”
In August 2020, the US Space Force announced it had selected SpaceX and ULA for the phase 2 procurement contracts for launch service orders starting in fiscal year 2020 through 2024. The first missions will launch in fiscal year 2022 with SMC ordering launch services annually from the two companies. ULA will receive a requirements contract for approximately 60% of launch services orders and SpaceX will receive a requirements contract for approximately 40% of launch services orders over the contract period.