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US Space Force Adds ABL, Astra, and Relativity Space to OSP-4 Contract

By | August 10, 2021
Artist rendering of Relativity's Terran 1 rocket. Photo: Relativity Space

Artist rendering of Relativity’s Terran 1 rocket. Photo: Relativity Space

The U.S. Space Force has awarded the first on ramp of the Orbital Services Program (OSP)-4 to three emerging smallsat launch providers: ABL Space Systems, Astra Space, and Relativity Space. The Rocket Systems Launch Program Office, part of the Space and Missile Systems Center’s (SMC) Launch Enterprise announced the award on Monday. 

This is an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract that allows the Space Force to rapidly acquire launch services for missions with mission requirements for payloads greater than 400 pounds to be launched to any orbit within 12 to 24 months from task order award. 

These launch providers can now compete for future individual OSP missions against launchers previously awarded this contract. The SMC Launch Enterprise initially awarded the OSP-4 contract in October 2019 to Aevum, Firefly Black, Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, Rocket Lab USA, SpaceX, United Launch Alliance, VOX Space (Virgin Orbit subsidiary), and X-Bow Launch Systems

“This program utilizes a low-barrier-to-entry to mature launch providers and those emerging companies that are approximately one year from being launch capable,” said Lt. Col. Justin Beltz, chief of Launch Enterprise’s Small Launch and Targets division. “We use this IDIQ contract to continue to introduce speed, agility, and flexibility into the launch enterprise and continue to cultivate a resilient and affordable launch market.”

The U.S. Space Force previously awarded two missions on OSP-4 with the Space Test Program (STP)-S28 mission to VOX Space and Tactically Responsive Launch(TacRL)-2 mission to Northrop Grumman, and expects to procure approximately 20 missions over the nine-year ordering period. 

Relativity commented on its selection: “Competition fuels innovation and we see this as an important milestone and next step in expanding our ability to serve the U.S. Department of Defense,” said Josh Brost, vice president of Business Development at Relativity.