The U.S. Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) plans to release a solicitation April 23 crafted to give Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and other companies with new rockets a shot at launching two missions set aside for new entrants, according to a service official.

Denver-based United Launch Alliance, which launches the vast majority of U.S. government payloads, is not eligible to compete for the contracts the service plans to award for the launch of the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) and Space Test Program (STP)-2 missions, according to Col. Carol Welsch, acting director of SMC’s Space Development and Test Directorate. The Air Force plans to launch DSCOVR in mid-2014 and the STP-2 mission in mid-2015.