Space Force and NASA order more than a dozen launches from ULA and SpaceX

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This week, both the Space Force and NASA made separate announcements regarding the awarding of contracts for a variety of different programs. These announcements confirmed that United Launch Alliance and SpaceX will be responsible for launching over a dozen additional missions in addition to their already full manifests.

Both businesses were recently informed that they had been chosen for a series of national security missions, such as intelligence-gathering satellites, that are slated to fly until the year 2024 by the Space Force’s Space Systems Command. ULA was granted five out of the eight missions, while SpaceX received three of the assignments.

The majority of launches will originate from the Eastern Range, which includes Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and Kennedy Space Center. While ULA utilizes the Cape facility, SpaceX maintains launch pads at each of its locations. The Vandenberg Space Force Base in California will serve as the launch site for two separate missions.

The Space Force chose the two primary items offered by the companies: the Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX and the Vulcan Centaur from ULA. The latter is still in the development stage and has not yet taken to the air, but ULA is aiming for the latter half of this year for the debut of Vulcan.

SpaceX added to the contract

On November 10, 2021, shortly before the launch of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, astronauts from the Crew-3 mission can be seen at the launch pad.
This week, NASA also announced that it has chosen SpaceX to fly a further five flights to the International Space Station. Each of these missions will transport humans to and from the outpost that is located in low-Earth orbit.

The adjustment to SpaceX’s current contract was deemed required by the agency when it was announced that the International Space Station (ISS) mission would be extended until 2030. Up to this point, the business has successfully completed five crewed flights for NASA.

NASA’s director of commercial space, Phil McAllister, said that the decision was made after the Starliner spacecraft manufactured by Boeing completed a mission to and from the International Space Station (ISS) in May with flying colors. Starliner might launch its first batch of passengers by the end of this year or the beginning of next year, providing NASA with two vehicles to ferry humans to and from the International Space Station (ISS), in addition to SpaceX’s Crew Dragon.

McAllister said in a statement that in order to carry out their objective of having each commercial provider fly alternate flights once a year, they would need extra missions from SpaceX. “However, we will need further missions from SpaceX,” “Our objective has always been to have many companies capable of carrying people to and from the International Space Station. SpaceX has been consistently flying two crewed missions for NASA each year, and now we need to find other companies to backfill those flights in order to enable the agency safely fulfill its long-term goals.”

NASA made its decision in 2014 to replace the space shuttle, which had been decommissioned three years earlier and awarded contracts worth multiple billions of dollars to both Boeing and SpaceX. The news made this week follows the selection of SpaceX by the government agency for three further flights – Crew-7, Crew-8, and Crew-9 – that are scheduled to begin in 2023.

McAllister said in a statement that in order to carry out their objective of having each commercial provider fly alternate flights once a year, they would need extra missions from SpaceX. “However, we will need further missions from SpaceX,” “Our objective has always been to have many companies capable of carrying people to and from the International Space Station. SpaceX has been consistently flying two crewed missions for NASA each year, and now we need to find other companies to backfill those flights in order to enable the agency safely fulfill its long-term goals.”

NASA made its decision in 2014 to replace the space shuttle, which had been decommissioned three years earlier and awarded contracts worth multiple billions of dollars to both Boeing and SpaceX. The news made this week follows the selection of SpaceX by the government agency for three further flights – Crew-7, Crew-8, and Crew-9 – that are scheduled to begin in 2023.

Source: FloridaToday

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