Author Topic: USAF EELV/NSSL Phase 2 Launch Service Procurement (Winners Announced)  (Read 136470 times)

Offline Rebel44

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Isn't the delay in announcing launch contracts a bit weird? I recall SDA wanting to get some of the launches for their constellation to be launched by the end of 2022 - which seems very unlikely to happen that quickly after the launch award.

Offline gongora

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Isn't the delay in announcing launch contracts a bit weird? I recall SDA wanting to get some of the launches for their constellation to be launched by the end of 2022 - which seems very unlikely to happen that quickly after the launch award.

The SDA launches for Tranche 0 were given out a while ago.

New release of orders. 5 to ULA on Vulcan all from Eastern range; 3 to SpaceX all on Falcon 9, 1 eastern, 2 Vandenberg.

https://twitter.com/USSF_SSC/status/1529969683671134209?s=20&t=XxTGKMxvQPcGRxpgYEdyNQ

Per this week's "Rocket Report" from Ars Technica: "Col. Douglas Pentecost, Space Systems Command deputy director of launch enterprise, told the publication that ULA’s task orders for the five missions are worth $566 million, and SpaceX’s orders for three missions are worth $280 million."

https://arstechnica.com/science/2022/06/rocket-report-india-wants-its-own-spacex-firefly-targets-july-for-alpha-launch/

Impressive that total cost for 8 DOD launches is only $846M. US taxpayers definitely benefiting from competitive launch market.

Online Steven Pietrobon

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Per this week's "Rocket Report" from Ars Technica: "Col. Douglas Pentecost, Space Systems Command deputy director of launch enterprise, told the publication that ULA’s task orders for the five missions are worth $566 million, and SpaceX’s orders for three missions are worth $280 million."

That works out to $113.M each for ULA and $93.3M each for SpaceX.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline Lars-J

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Per this week's "Rocket Report" from Ars Technica: "Col. Douglas Pentecost, Space Systems Command deputy director of launch enterprise, told the publication that ULA’s task orders for the five missions are worth $566 million, and SpaceX’s orders for three missions are worth $280 million."

That works out to $113.M each for ULA and $93.3M each for SpaceX.
Excellent. While these might not be the most demanding missions, numbers such as these show the benefit of two competitive providers.

Offline Newton_V

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Seems about time for another block of assignments.

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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https://twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1666913598000472068

Quote
Space Force assigned 12 missions to SpaceX and United Launch Alliance, under the previously awarded NSSL Phase 2 contract:

Quote
Each company got 6 mission assignments:

SpaceX
— USSF-31
— T1TL-B
— T1TL-C
— T1TL-D
— T1TL-E
— T1TR-C

ULA
— NROL-64
— NROL-83
— GPS-III-08
— T1TR-B
— T1TR-D
— USSF-114

https://twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1666915448024080385

Quote
SpaceX's assignments specify Falcon 9, except for USSF-31.

All of ULA's are for Vulcan.

Offline Zed_Noir

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<snip>
The fact that Vulcan Centaur is late, hasn't had its first launch, and is not yet certified for NSSL Phase 2 missions doesn't seem to have had an impact on the missions assigned to the Vulcan Centaur so far.
Missions probably can be reassigned to SpaceX if the Vulcan Centaur gets too far behind in the launch schedule. Kinda like what happen to Arianespace when the Ariane 6 was running late. The USSF knows that SpaceX have the launch capacity to pick the slack if necessary.

Offline wannamoonbase

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<snip>
The fact that Vulcan Centaur is late, hasn't had its first launch, and is not yet certified for NSSL Phase 2 missions doesn't seem to have had an impact on the missions assigned to the Vulcan Centaur so far.
Missions probably can be reassigned to SpaceX if the Vulcan Centaur gets too far behind in the launch schedule. Kinda like what happen to Arianespace when the Ariane 6 was running late. The USSF knows that SpaceX have the launch capacity to pick the slack if necessary.

I don't think the DOD or any other ULA customers are too worried about Vulcan working eventually.  It's painfully late but it's nearly here and ULA will get it working.

Its when not if.

How long Vulcan's shelf life is before it can't win contracts due to other reuseable vehicles, who knows.  Probably safe for at least 5 years.
Wildly optimistic prediction, Superheavy recovery on IFT-4 or IFT-5

Offline DanClemmensen

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<snip>
The fact that Vulcan Centaur is late, hasn't had its first launch, and is not yet certified for NSSL Phase 2 missions doesn't seem to have had an impact on the missions assigned to the Vulcan Centaur so far.
Missions probably can be reassigned to SpaceX if the Vulcan Centaur gets too far behind in the launch schedule. Kinda like what happen to Arianespace when the Ariane 6 was running late. The USSF knows that SpaceX have the launch capacity to pick the slack if necessary.

I don't think the DOD or any other ULA customers are too worried about Vulcan working eventually.  It's painfully late but it's nearly here and ULA will get it working.

Its when not if.

How long Vulcan's shelf life is before it can't win contracts due to other reuseable vehicles, who knows.  Probably safe for at least 5 years.
If SpaceX continues to increase its cadence at the current rate of about 30/yr, they will reach 120/yr in 2024 and effectively saturate the current capacity of the Eastern Range. At that point, launch slots become the constraint. I'm not sure how the range will allocate slots, but if it were pure economics, the slots would go to either the most capable LVs or to the cheapest LVs.

The range is limited by range personnel and technical equipment, by weather, and by airline and shipping interests in limiting closures. Personnel and equipment can be increased. Parallel launches in the same window can double the launch rate but would impose additional scheduling complexities.

Offline alugobi

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ULA has too many friends.  Too big to fail.

Offline wannamoonbase

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ULA has too many friends.  Too big to fail.

That but also, NASA and DOD want/need redundancy in orbital access.  Until there is another capable reliable launch provider both SpaceX and ULA can include a pricing premium and be assured of getting DOD launches.
Wildly optimistic prediction, Superheavy recovery on IFT-4 or IFT-5

Offline Jim

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If SpaceX continues to increase its cadence at the current rate of about 30/yr, they will reach 120/yr in 2024 and effectively saturate the current capacity of the Eastern Range. At that point, launch slots become the constraint. I'm not sure how the range will allocate slots, but if it were pure economics, the slots would go to either the most capable LVs or to the cheapest LVs.



No, it is first come, first serve.

Offline DanClemmensen

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If SpaceX continues to increase its cadence at the current rate of about 30/yr, they will reach 120/yr in 2024 and effectively saturate the current capacity of the Eastern Range. At that point, launch slots become the constraint. I'm not sure how the range will allocate slots, but if it were pure economics, the slots would go to either the most capable LVs or to the cheapest LVs.
No, it is first come, first serve.
Thanks, Jim. That is the current reality and I did not know. I was speculating about how it needs to evolve, which is why I said "if it were pure economics". I'm thinking about what happens as we (possibly) shift from "launch slots are not a constraint" toward "launch slots are the major constraint". Such changes can be fairly abrupt, as in congestion in major containership ports or places like the Panama Canal. This is classic queueing theory: wait times are a hyperbolic function, so they stays low until the system nears capacity, and then rise suddenly.

Offline AmigaClone


If SpaceX continues to increase its cadence at the current rate of about 30/yr, they will reach 120/yr in 2024 and effectively saturate the current capacity of the Eastern Range. At that point, launch slots become the constraint. I'm not sure how the range will allocate slots, but if it were pure economics, the slots would go to either the most capable LVs or to the cheapest LVs.

No, it is first come, first serve.

I can see the (major) launch customer being a factor in allocating slots. For instance, a vehicle launching a DoD or NRO 'National Security' payload could conceivably bump a SpaceX Starlink launch originally scheduled for that slot. Other US government agencies might have the same priority for their payloads.

Offline DanClemmensen

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If SpaceX continues to increase its cadence at the current rate of about 30/yr, they will reach 120/yr in 2024 and effectively saturate the current capacity of the Eastern Range. At that point, launch slots become the constraint. I'm not sure how the range will allocate slots, but if it were pure economics, the slots would go to either the most capable LVs or to the cheapest LVs.

No, it is first come, first serve.

I can see the (major) launch customer being a factor in allocating slots. For instance, a vehicle launching a DoD or NRO 'National Security' payload could conceivably bump a SpaceX Starlink launch originally scheduled for that slot. Other US government agencies might have the same priority for their payloads.
Sure. Any time there is a resource constraint, then the resource must be allocated somehow. My point here is that we are possibly moving from an effectively unconstrained resource to a constrained resource, and that may affect the launch rates for some customers. As you say, probably not the NSSL launches. But what hapens when you have e.g. an NSSL launch on Monday and a commercial launch on Tuesday, and then the NSSL launch is delayed due to weather? A full schedule leaves little room to recover.

Offline Jim

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If SpaceX continues to increase its cadence at the current rate of about 30/yr, they will reach 120/yr in 2024 and effectively saturate the current capacity of the Eastern Range. At that point, launch slots become the constraint. I'm not sure how the range will allocate slots, but if it were pure economics, the slots would go to either the most capable LVs or to the cheapest LVs.

No, it is first come, first serve.

I can see the (major) launch customer being a factor in allocating slots. For instance, a vehicle launching a DoD or NRO 'National Security' payload could conceivably bump a SpaceX Starlink launch originally scheduled for that slot. Other US government agencies might have the same priority for their payloads.

Nope.   That changed years ago and the shuttle lists its priority. 
It is first come, first served.  The launch service provider does the scheduling and not the payload.  The payloads have to have their LSPs negotiate any changes.

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