U.S. Air Force Awarded Six of a Planned Eight Major Space Contracts in 2014

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WASHINGTON – With the Dec. 4 announcement of a deal with ASRC Federal Space and Defense to handle the excess ballistic missile solid-rocket motors used for satellite launches and suborbital missions, the U.S. Air Force’s space acquisition arm has awarded six of the eight major contracts it had planned for 2014.

The solid-rocket motor contract, known as Launch Services Mission Assurance, has a  base period of one year valued at $4 million and includes four one-year options for a total potential value of $21 million, according to the Pentagon announcement. The work, which will take place at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, is expected to be completed by the end of 2021, the announcement said, without further explanation.

ASRC of Beltsville, Maryland, won the contract over two other competitors, the announcement said. Anton Pototski, an ASRC spokesman, declined to comment.

Getting that work under contract was one of the Air Force’s top space procurement priorities for 2014, officials from the service’s Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) at Los Angeles Air Force Base said in February.

Every January, SpaceNews compiles a list, based in part on input from SMC, of the top space-related contract awards planned for the calendar year. Six of the eight planned awards cited by SMC were made 2014, according to data from the Air Force and from the Federal Business Opportunities website.

One of the two remaining awards is the Combined Orbital Operations Logistics Sustainment, 0r COOLS, contract, which covers operations and support for Air Force communications satellite constellations including Milstar, Advanced Extremely High Frequency and the Defense Satellite Communications System. The Air Force announced in December 2013 it is pursuing a sole-source contract with Sunnyvale, California-based Lockheed Martin Space Systems, the prime contractor on all three programs, for that work.

Tina Greer, an SMC spokeswoman, said in a Dec. 5 email that the COOLS contract award is expected in early 2015.

Also outstanding is a GPS system engineering and integration contract, which has been delayed because of a protest, Greer said.

Besides the Launch Service Mission Assurance contract, the other major space-related contracts awarded in 2014 were:

  • Family of Advanced Beyond Line of Site Terminals. Raytheon Co. of Waltham, Massachusetts, won a hotly contested strategic military satellite terminal contract in June after fighting its way into a competition with the original prime contractor, Boeing Network and Space Systems of Arlington, Virginia. The $298 million production contract is for terminals that will enable the president to communicate with the national command authority via the Milstar and Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellites in the event of a nuclear war.
  • Launch and Test Range Integrated Support Contract (LISC). In November, a Raytheon-led industry team called Range Generation Next LLC won a contract potentially worth $2 billion to support the Air Force’s two main launch ranges.  LISC consolidates three contracts currently supporting Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
  • Hosted Payload Solutions. In July, the Air Force awarded indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts to 14 space companies to facilitate the placement of military payloads aboard commercial satellites. Contracts to support actual hosted payload projects are expected to be awarded as task orders as the Air Force sees fit.
  • Space Fence. In June, Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training of Mooretown, New Jersey, won a $914 million contract to build the Air Force’s next-generation ground-based radar system for space surveillance.
  • SMC Technology Services-2. In February, the Air Force awarded a set aside for a pool of small businesses to handle many of the systems engineering and technical assistance activities at SMC. In September, companies began working on individual task orders, Greer said.