The US Air Force on Friday awarded billions of contracts to SpaceX and the United Launch Alliance of Elon Musk, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing, as part of its national security space launch services.
ULA will receive $ 337 million for two launches in 2022, and SpaceX will receive $ 316 million for one launch in the same year. ULA will get 60% and SpaceX will get 40% of the launch contract, totaling billions of dollars.
ULA President and Chief Executive Officer Tory Bruno used his company’s new Vulcan Centaur rocket, replacing its old Atlas and Delta rockets.
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In a statement he said, “The Vulcan Centaur offers high performance and greater affordability to continue our unmatched reliability and orbital precision, which will continue to provide good access to space in the future.”
SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Northrop was also competing for the Blue Origin contracts of Grumman and Jeff Bezos.
Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said he was “disappointed in the decision” of the Air Force over not taking up his proposal, which was based on “unprecedented private investment of more than $ 2.5 billion” in his new Glenn rocket, but he Will continue to develop it.
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The first stage of the New Glenn rocket is designed to be reused 25 times. SpaceX has also designed its rockets, such as Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, with reusability in mind. Musk’s company states that “an increasingly reusable space launch vehicle can reduce the cost of space travel by one hundred times.”
The Air Force said on Friday that contracting with private companies in this way has saved them $ 7 billion since 2013.
Col. Robert Bongovi, director of SMC’s Launch Enterprise, said in a statement, “It was an extremely difficult decision and I was working hard to make our commercial launch system affordable and reliably meet our more stressful national security needs of the industry.” I appreciate it. ”
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