I guess OmegA is set due to the big solids. For #2 I assume either ULA or Blue Origin, depending on which one is further ahead in development. If I had to, I would bet on ULA. SpaceX is lacking the high energy upper stage and doesn‘t operate by the book.
Blue Origin executives have argued that the schedule puts newcomers at a disadvantage ... asked the Air Force to delay the LSP award 12 to 24 months
It seems like for assured access to space you wouldn't want the two chosen companies operating vehicles using the same engine. So no, ULA and BO.
ULA is almost a given with 100% success rate, which is more important than price with $500m -1B payloads. Can still offer D4H for expensive payloads while Vulcan is proving its self. SpaceX has good record and is good choice for less expensive payloads.NG has history of DOD launches but totally new LV, which may struggle to survive without DOD missions.Blue has no DOD or launch experience and totally new LV. Will need 3rd stage for GEO direct missions.
NG has history of DOD launches but totally new LV, which may struggle to survive without DOD missions.
Blue has no DOD or launch experience and totally new LV. Will need 3rd stage for GEO direct missions.
Obviously the fact that 3 of these rockets have not flown yet is a technical risk, but I wonder how much the Air Force would reasonably view vertical integration for SpaceX as a technical risk? Is this just about SpaceX spending some hundreds of millions on infrastructure, or is there also some uncertainty about their ability to accomplish that successfully?
Reports that the RFP could be released on March 29 after a meeting of USAF/DoD acquisition officials on March 28.Ars TechnicaSpace News