https://breakingdefense.com/2022/06/with-billions-at-stake-lobbying-heats-up-for-future-rights-to-space-force-launches/The war is coming...
Quote from: Jim on 06/21/2022 02:07 pmQuote from: DanClemmensen on 06/21/2022 01:53 pmQuote from: Jim on 06/21/2022 01:46 pmQuote from: DanClemmensen on 06/20/2022 05:23 amTo participate, BO would need a launch pad and other infrastructure at SLC, right? Their facilities at KSC are not secure enough.Based on what?Based on a misunderstanding on my part. I thought USSF (or NRO or whoever makes these decisions) preferred to launch from SLC. I now know I was wrong. I should have made it part of the question, not an assertion.Salt Lake City?I meant a pad whose abbreviation starts with "SLC" (e.g., SLC-40) , which I think means "Space Launch Complex". What I should have said was "Cape Canaveral Space Force Station", which under control of USSF, in contrast to a pad whose abbreviation starts with "LC" (e.g., LC-39A) which is part of "Kennedy Space Center" and is under control of NASA.
Quote from: DanClemmensen on 06/21/2022 01:53 pmQuote from: Jim on 06/21/2022 01:46 pmQuote from: DanClemmensen on 06/20/2022 05:23 amTo participate, BO would need a launch pad and other infrastructure at SLC, right? Their facilities at KSC are not secure enough.Based on what?Based on a misunderstanding on my part. I thought USSF (or NRO or whoever makes these decisions) preferred to launch from SLC. I now know I was wrong. I should have made it part of the question, not an assertion.Salt Lake City?
Quote from: Jim on 06/21/2022 01:46 pmQuote from: DanClemmensen on 06/20/2022 05:23 amTo participate, BO would need a launch pad and other infrastructure at SLC, right? Their facilities at KSC are not secure enough.Based on what?Based on a misunderstanding on my part. I thought USSF (or NRO or whoever makes these decisions) preferred to launch from SLC. I now know I was wrong. I should have made it part of the question, not an assertion.
Quote from: DanClemmensen on 06/20/2022 05:23 amTo participate, BO would need a launch pad and other infrastructure at SLC, right? Their facilities at KSC are not secure enough.Based on what?
To participate, BO would need a launch pad and other infrastructure at SLC, right? Their facilities at KSC are not secure enough.
In 2026, is NSSL a significant enough sliver of the launch market to matter? Why should launch providers care about NSSL requirements when there's Kuiper and other megaconstellations driving the vast majority of demand growth? Why should Blue Origin support direct-to-GEO missions with a reusable Jarvis upper stage? Why should Rocket Lab scale Neutron to cover the range of NSSL payload classes?The US military is talking about buying *maybe* 30-34 launches over a five year period. It could be significantly less than that. There could be six missions one year and two missions the next. Amazon placed a firm order for 83 launches over a five year period, and there will be more where that came from. Whose requirements are more important? Who has more clout to drive requirements for launch providers?ULA supports NSSL requirements. SpaceX had already developed FH and was all but forced to promise a vertical integration tower and a special expendable payload fairing. That's enough providers bending over backwards for a vanishingly small number of snowflake payloads. Other providers should be able to bid on the missions that they are capable of executing.Blue Origin, in particular, needs to resist the urge to make any more pivots to win a government contract. Forget about the stodgy military customers and skate to where the puck is going.
The Space Force launch procurement command in Los Angeles later this year will send to the Pentagon a proposed strategy for selecting national security launch services providers for the next round of contracts expected to be awarded in 2024. “The NSSL [National Security Space Launch] team is off working the strategy for Phase 3, but nothing has been agreed to yet,” Frank Calvelli, the Space Force’s senior acquisition executive, told reporters June 28.
Some 25 House members have signed onto a draft letter being circulated by Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., pushing restrictions on the contenders. That letter was drafted by current incumbent, United Launch Alliance, according to industry sources; ULA is a joint venture of defense behemoths Boeing and Lockheed Martin.The undated draft, addressed to Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall and obtained by Breaking Defense, encourages the Space Force to “continue requiring launch providers meet all critical mission requirements.” This would effectively limit the contest to those companies with large, “high energy” rockets that can loft satellites all the way up to Geosynchronous Orbit (GEO, some 36,000 kilometers in altitude) and block out small launch providers who can only reach Low Earth Orbit (LEO, between 100 and 2,000 kilometers) even for missions that only need to reach that lower zone, according to several industry sources.
The U.S. Space Force is working to finalize a procurement strategy for the next national security launch services contracts expected to be awarded in 2024. A draft request for industry proposals could be issued as early as February 2023, Brig. Gen. Stephen Purdy, the Space Force’s program executive officer for assured access to space, told SpaceNews on the sidelines of the Air, Space & Cyber conference. Before the Space Systems Command can release a draft request for proposals, the strategy has to be approved by the Department of Defense, said Purdy. “We are trying to get everyone at DoD to agree … there are a lot of stakeholders.”
#SpaceSystemsCommand’s Assured Access to Space directorate signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement today, paving the way for @BlueOrigin to compete for the next NSSL launch service competition and is an example of how we foster innovation! https://www.ssc.spaceforce.mil/Portals/3/Documents/PRESS%20RELEASES/Space%20Systems%20Command%20Opens%20the%20Door%20for%20Blue%20Origin%20to%20Provide%20.pdf?ver=RqasqnwR0Vc4WckL8ggAFQ%3d%3d
The U.S. Space Force is in the process of defining the framework for Phase 3 of the National Security Space Launch program (NSSL). The follow-on from the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program, NSSL ensures that the Department of Defense has access to launch services to put the most critical military and intelligence collection assets into orbit — assets like GPS, space-based early warning, and other classified payloads. Right now the program’s requirements are being met by two providers: United Launch Alliance (ULA) and SpaceX. The decisions that will shape Phase 3 are being made against an evolving geopolitical and commercial landscape, which are critical considerations for ensuring the United States has the launch services it needs now and in the future.
“A dual-lane contracting approach is being considered,” he said. One would be an IDIQ contract, short for indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity “with an unlimited number of providers.” An IDIQ contract would allow the government to purchase launch services on an as-needed basis without committing to a specific amount. Pentecost said this vehicle would be used for less complex NSSL launches where there is likely to be more competitors. “This allows annual on-ramping of new capabilities for the less stressing NSSL missions.” The second lane would be like Phase 2, or an indefinite delivery requirements contract with two selected providers for the more demanding NSSL missions.
Big changes are coming in how the US military buys launch. DOD will still require its two big contractors to hit all orbits (SpaceX and ULA, most likely) but will open another procurement lane for more risk tolerant missions. Big win here for Blue Origin, Rocket Lab, others.
Space Systems Command Releases National Security Space Launch Phase 3 Draft Request for ProposalsSummary: SC NSSL RFP release reflects Command's acquisition strategy of dual-lane approach for access to diverse commercial systems for greater resilience, integration, affordability and more.EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - Space Systems Command released two National Security Space Launch (NSSL) Phase 3 Draft Requests for Proposals (RFP) based on a dual-lane acquisition approach to solicit industry feedback on the RFPs prior to finalization."Today's draft RFP release builds upon the historic successes of the NSSL program and responds to our nation's need to address the pacing challenge," said Maj. Gen. Stephen Purdy, program executive officer, Assured Access to Space. "We developed an acquisition strategy consisting of a dual-lane approach that provides access to diverse commercially available systems, increases resiliency through alternate launch sites and streamlined integration timelines, allows annual on-ramping of emerging launch providers and systems, secures launch capacity, enables supply chain stability, and enhances affordability for the most stressing National Security Space missions."Lane 1 will use a multiple Firm Fixed Price Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract open to all qualified bidders. Bidders are not required to meet all NSSL orbits to compete in Lane 1. Lane 1 will have annual on-ramping opportunities as emerging providers or systems are ready. Lane 1 covers procurements from FY25 to FY34 consisting of a five-year base ordering period plus a five-year option. Lane 1 serves more risk-tolerant space vehicles launching to commercially addressable orbits. Task orders for launch services are competed on an annual basis among all IDIQ awardees. The government may order missions individually or in blocks. Launch providers must propose fully-burdened launch service prices that include all applicable launch service support. Lane 1 also incorporates tiered mission assurance as required by each mission's risk tolerance.The government will select two awardees for Lane 2. The competitively awarded FFP IndefiniteDelivery Requirements contracts will be awarded to the best value and next best value launch service providers who meet all NSSL orbits and unique mission capabilities. The contracts will have a five-year ordering period from FY25 to FY29. Lane 2 includes missions that require full mission assurance with certified launch vehicles. Lane 2 payloads require launches to more stressing orbits, necessitating higher performance
As the military prepares to buy more launches with NSSL Phase 3, @USSF_SSC's Col. Douglas Pentecost says in a briefing they expect "a greater than 50% increase" in missions.Phase 2 expected ~35 (but is now targeting ~40), whereas Phase 3 is expected to have over 60 to 70.
After a solicitation period, SSC is targeting summer 2024 to announce contract awards under NSSL Phase 3.
Expected NSSL Phase 3 breakdown:Lane 1- 30 missions- designed for flexibility, for both new missions and launch vehiclesLane 2- 40 missions- 60%/40% split between two companies- "hardest orbit" requirements
Col. Douglas Pentecost of the Air Force has referred to companies including Rocket Lab, Relativity Space, Blue Origin, and ABL Space as "Lane 1" entrants for national security launch. He revealed that ABL is also working on larger rocket, which the company hasn't talked about.
Can ULA and SpaceX compete for Lane #1 missions?.
For Phase 3 the Space Force projects anywhere from 60 to 70 missions. About 30 of those will be less demanding “Lane 1” launches that could be performed by emerging launch providers flying medium-size vehicles. The other 40 in “Lane 2” would be heavy-lift missions to high orbits carrying the most sensitive military and intelligence satellites. — Lane 1 will run from 2025 to 2034, with a five-year base period plus a five-year option. Bids will be solicited annually throughout the contract period, so will be opportunities to “on ramp” new companies. These launches could be performed from nontraditional spaceports. — Lane 2 requires certified national security launch vehicles that fly from the Eastern and Western ranges. The contract period will run from 2025 to 2029. As in NSSL Phase 2, two winners will be selected, with the top scorer getting 60% of the missions.— Based on market research and conversations with launch providers, Pentecost said, there could be at least four new competitors in Phase 3: Rocket Lab, ABL Space, Relativity Space and Blue Origin. These companies would compete in the more “risk tolerant” Lane 1, although Blue Origin could have a shot at Lane 2 if New Glenn completes three flights and gets certified. — Incumbents ULA and SpaceX would be eligible to compete in either lane.
The US military is finally leaning heavily into the nation's commercial launch industry. It's a pretty big deal.
Rocket Lab ‘very happy’ with Space Force plan to procure launch servicesCEO Peter Beck says the company played an active role reshaping the government’s approach to buying launch servicesSandra ErwinMarch 7, 2023WASHINGTON — Rocket Lab’s chief executive Peter Beck is candid about his company’s role in reshaping the U.S. government’s approach to buying launch services.“We’re very happy with the outcome,” Beck says of the recent draft solicitation for the next round of national security space launch contracts.
Boeing is interested in offering commercial Space Launch System flight services under the National Security Space Launch Phase 3 program. "We believe the proven SLS capabilities can be an asset for the ... [NSSL] Phase 3 contract," Boeing tells @AviationWeek
I would love to see the Space Launch System in a real, actual competition for launch contracts. I think that would be fun.