Pentagon selects SpaceX and ULA to remain its primary launch providers

SpaceX and ULA will collectively fly as many as 34 missions for the Department of Defense between 2022 and 2027

Pentagon selects SpaceX and ULA to remain its primary launch providers
Pentagon selects SpaceX and ULA to remain its primary launch providers

Pentagon selects SpaceX and ULA to remain its primary launch providers

The Department of the Air Force recently announced that United Launch Alliance (ULA) and SpaceX have been selected to receive five-year contracts totaling $653 million to launch national security satellites for the U.S. military and intelligence agencies.

According to a report by SpaceNews, United Launch Alliance received a $337 million contract for two Phase 2 missions and SpaceX received a $316 million contract for one Phase 2 mission planned for fiscal 2022. The U.S. government’s fiscal year begins Oct 1. SpaceX and ULA will collectively fly as many as 34 missions for the Department of Defense between 2022 and 2027.

The legislative mandate to finish the Pentagon’s reliance on United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 rocket which has the Russian RD-180 as its main engine is also a factor that has caused the shift towards the new launch vehicles. By law, DoD won’t be allowed to shop for Atlas 5 launches after Dec. 31, 2022.

In Phase 2 ULA will be specified 60 percent of the missions, and SpaceX 40 percent. The Air Force will assign specific rockets on a yearly basis counting on the specified missions.

The Air Force has insisted that it’s not committing to purchasing a preset number of launches. The pre-evaluated 34 missions for the covered five-year period might change as priorities and budgets fluctuate from year to year.