ULA Wins Two Launch Services Contracts

The Air Force awarded two launch services contracts to the United Launch Alliance as part of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle phase 1 block buy contract, the Air Force announced. The National Reconnaissance Office L-47 and Space Based Infrared Systems GEO-4 missions are both scheduled to launch in Fiscal 2018. NROL-47 will support the office’s mission of providing overhead intelligence systems for national security, and SBIRS GEO-4 will provide early warning for missile launches, states the release. The contracts include launch vehicle production, mission integration, and launch operations for the two missions. The Air Force’s phase 1 block buy contract included 36 rocket cores, to be procured from Fiscal 2013 to 2017; these two missions count toward that 36. SpaceX, which was recently certified for national security space launches, sued the Air Force in April 2014 over the contract, saying its long-term parameters blocked other companies from competing for such launches. The company dropped the lawsuit in January after the Air Force agreed to expand the number of competitive launch opportunities.