ABL says the funding will accelerate the development of its two-stage launch vehicle and mobile infrastructure.
Mandy Vaughn said notifying companies of contract awards and immediately rescinding them shows “a little bit of discombobulation."
SmallSat Alliance Chairman Chuck Beames: 'I think they messed up.'
Air Force acquisition executive Will Roper said funds that had been allocated for small launch contracts were redirected to small business loans.
The U.S. government “will not award the identified contracts at this time.”
Companies are selected based on data provided to DoD leaders by the Defense Contract Management Agency and the Defense Logistics Agency.
Aevum, Astra, X-Bow, Rocket Lab, Space Vector and VOX Space each will receive contracts to launch two rideshare missions.
In an interview, Swarm chief executive Sara Spangelo said a trifecta of setbacks prevented the company from getting its constellation in orbit in the timeframe envisioned.
Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck: "The market needs to grow a lot to sustain more than two companies."
Ellen Lord: “We're looking where the greatest pain points are, and again, it's really aviation, shipbuilding and small space launch.”
A key capability that AFRL wants to demonstrate with ABL Space Systems is remote launch.
Small launch missions planned for 2020 include experimental satellites, a prototype rideshare and missile defense tests.
As it plans future experiments DARPA wants to take advantage of the growing availability of launch options.
Senate appropriators add $22M for small launch, approve Space Force and Space Development Agency requests
The $22 million for Tactically Responsive Space Launch was added to the Air Force’s Research, Development, Test and Evaluation account.
Vector on Aug. 26 withdrew as the contractor for the Air Force Agile Small Launch Operational Normalizer (ASLON)-45 space lift mission.
Foust Forward | Worldwide, there are 131 small launch vehicles in the works. Most of these will fizzle out.
There’s almost universal agreement in the industry that there are far many more small launchers under development than can be supported by even the most optimistic forecasts of smallsat development.