Return of Launch Competition Highlights U.S. Military Space Contracts

A ULA Atlas 5 carrying the third MUOS satellite for the United States Navy launched from Space Launch Complex-41 at 8:04 p.m. EST Jan. 20, 2015. Credit: ULA
A ULA Atlas 5 carrying the third MUOS satellite launched Jan. 20. Credit: ULA

Two competitive national security launches, the first to be awarded under the U.S. Air Force’s main satellite launching program in 15 years, will be among the Defense Department’s most closely watched space-related procurements this year.

Other notable military space- and missile defense-related contracts expected this year include a missile tracking radar to be deployed in Alaska and a consolidation of operations and maintenance work at the Air Force’s satellite ground stations. Read More.

CRS-2, Weather Sat Top U.S. Civil Space Procurement Agenda for 2015

Boeing hopes to use a variant of its CST-100 crew capsule to deliver cargo to the International Space Station for NASA. Credit: Boeing
Boeing CST-100 variant showing delivering cargo  Credit: Boeing illustration
Boeing CST-100 variant showing delivering cargo  Credit: Boeing illustration

In two of this year’s higher-profile civil space procurements, NASA’s commercial cargo carriers face challengers for follow-on contracts to haul supplies to the International Space Station, while Ball Aerospace is competing to build another polar-orbiting weather spacecraft for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Bids are in on NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS)-2 program, and while the agency has not said how many contracts it will award, at least two are expected in June. The program is intended to keep supplies flowing to the International Space Station from 2018, when the CRS-1 contracts held by Orbital Sciences Corp. and SpaceX expire, through 2024, the year to which the White House has proposed extending station operations. Read More. 


Mike Gruss covers military space issues, including the U.S. Air Force and Missile Defense Agency, for SpaceNews. He is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Dan Leone is a SpaceNews staff writer, covering NASA, NOAA and a growing number of entrepreneurial space companies. He earned a bachelor’s degree in public communications from the American University in Washington.