Executive Briefings

USAF Solicits Competitive Bids on National Security Satellite Program

For the first time in a decade, the Air Force has opened up a rocket competition to launch the U.S. government's most sophisticated national security satellites. The Air Force released a request for proposal on Tuesday to companies that want to compete for a national security mission set to blast off in 2016.

For years, the Air Force had only one company that carried out missions to launch the nation's most precious satellites into orbit under a program called the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle.

The Pentagon has paid Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. — operating jointly as United Launch Alliance — to launch the government's pricey spy satellites without seeking competitive bids. Some of the satellites cost more than $1bn and take years to build.

The announcement allows Hawthorne, Calif.-based rocket maker SpaceX to vie for one of the world's most lucrative space programs. The upstart firm and its chief executive, Elon Musk, have been publicly fighting all year to compete for military contracts.

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For years, the Air Force had only one company that carried out missions to launch the nation's most precious satellites into orbit under a program called the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle.

The Pentagon has paid Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. — operating jointly as United Launch Alliance — to launch the government's pricey spy satellites without seeking competitive bids. Some of the satellites cost more than $1bn and take years to build.

The announcement allows Hawthorne, Calif.-based rocket maker SpaceX to vie for one of the world's most lucrative space programs. The upstart firm and its chief executive, Elon Musk, have been publicly fighting all year to compete for military contracts.

Read Full Article