12 Companies to Provide Venture Class Launch Services for NASA


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NASA has selected 12 companies to provide launch services for the agencys Venture-Class Acquisition of Dedicated and Rideshare (VADR) missions, providing new opportunities for science and technology payloads and fostering a growing U.S. commercial launch market.

Award selections are:

  • ABL Space Systems of El Segundo, California
  • Astra Space Inc. of Alameda, California
  • Blue Origin Florida LLC of Merritt Island, Florida
  • L2 Solutions LLC of Houston
  • Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation of Chandler, Arizona
  • Phantom Space Corporation of Tucson, Arizona
  • Relativity Space Inc. of Long Beach, California
  • Rocket Lab USA Inc. of Long Beach, California
  • Spaceflight Inc. of Seattle
  • Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, California
  • United Launch Services LLC of Centennial, Colorado
  • Virgin Orbit LLC of Long Beach, California

The fixed-price indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts have a five-year ordering period with a maximum total value of $300 million across all contracts. The acquisition also includes a special on-ramp provision to enable additional providers and incumbents to submit proposals introducing launch services for new capabilities not available or identified at the time of the initial contract award.

We are incredibly excited to announce the awardees for VADR from a broad range of established and emerging launch providers and launch service aggregators and brokers, said Bradley Smith, director of launch services at NASA Headquarters in Washington. This speaks to our expertise in understanding the launch market as we crafted VADR to maximize our efforts in enabling a growing U.S launch industry. With this new tool in our toolbox, these tremendously flexible contracts will meet a wide variety of NASA science and technology needs, further enhancing the agencys Launch Services Programs reputation as Earths bridge to space.

The VADR contract will provide a broad range of Federal Aviation Administration-licensed commercial launch services capable of delivering payloads ranging from CubeSats to Class D missions to a variety of orbits. These small satellites and Class D payloads tolerate relatively high risk and serve as an ideal platform for technical and architecture innovation, contributing to NASAs science research and technology development.

The VADR acquisition builds on previous procurement efforts such as the Venture Class Launch Services (VCLS) and VCLS Demo 2 contracts, which are fostering development of new, small launch vehicles for NASA payloads.

Firm-fixed-price task orders will be issued to provide the launch services under these contracts for NASA and NASA-sponsored missions. Launches under the VADR contract will align with commercial practices, using less NASA oversight to achieve lower launch costs.

NASAs Launch Services Program at the agencys Kennedy Space Center in Florida will manage the VADR contracts. The agency works with private industry, mission, and international partners to launch science payloads ranging from small satellites with colleges and universities to NASAs highest priority missions.

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