Competing National Security Space Launches

The Air Force released the final request for proposals for GPS III services on Sept. 30, officially opening the door to competition for national security space launches. Companies have until Nov. 16 to submit proposals, though California-based SpaceX and the United Launch Alliance are the only entities certified for military space launches, according to a Sept. 30 release. The Air Force will evaluate the proposals and award a “firm-fixed price contract” that will cover launch vehicle production, mission integration, and launch operations for a 2018 Global Positioning System III satellite launch, states the release. “Through this competitive solicitation for GPS III launch services, we hope to reintroduce competition in order to promote innovation and reduce cost to the taxpayer while maintaining our steadfast laser focus on mission assurance and assured access to space,” said Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, Space and Missile Systems Center commander and Air Force program executive officer for space. This is the first of nine competitive launch services planned under the Phase 1A procurement strategy; previously United Launch Alliance was the only certified launch provider.