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Political fight intensifies as Air Force prepares to kick off launch competition

3 Apr 2019, 22:50 UTC
Political fight intensifies as Air Force prepares to kick off launch competition
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This article was first published in the SN Military.Space newsletter. If you would like to get our news and insights for national security space professionals every Tuesday, sign up here for your free subscription.

The Air Force originally planned to release its request for proposals for the procurement phase of the Launch Service Agreement program March 29. Last week, Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center Commander Lt. Gen. John Thompson said the Air Force is ready to issue the so-called Launch Service Procurement RFP and that it will happen within the next couple of weeks. An Air Force source said the new date is April 4.
The fact that we are hearing conflicting stories coming from the Pentagon and from SMC speaks to the political scrutiny surrounding the National Security Space Launch program.

In awarding Launch Service Agreement funding to United Launch Alliance, Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman last October, the Air Force said it intended to issue the follow-on Launch Service Procurement (LSP) solicitation in 2019 and select two providers in 2020 to divide future Air Force launch contracts. Any LSA contractors not selected for LSP awards would have what’s left of their LSA funds terminated.
Now, industry ...

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