The Air Force on Jan. 13 said it awarded Orbital ATK [OA] and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) contracts as part of its effort to get of the RD-180 by 2019.
Orbital ATK received $47 million for development of the Common Booster Segment main stage, the Graphite Epoxy Motor (GEM) 63XL strap-on booster and an extendable nozzle for Blue Origin’s BE-3U/EN upper stage engine. These rocket propulsion systems are intended for use on an Orbital ATK next-generation launch vehicle, according to a Defense Department announcement made late Jan. 13. The GEM 63XL strap-on solid rocket motor is also intended for use on United Launch Alliance‘s (ULA) next-generation Vulcan launch vehicle.
Orbital ATK is contributing $31 million at the time of the award and the company’s total potential investment, including all options, is $125 million. The Air Force is contributing $47 million in fiscal year 2015 research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) funding. The total potential government investment, including all options, is $180 million.
SpaceX received $34 million for development testing of its Raptor upper stage engine, which will be used on the company’s Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles. The Air Force contributed $34 million in FY ’15 RDT&E funding while SpaceX contributed $67 million at the time of award. The total potential government investment, including all options, is $61 million. The total potential SpaceX investment, including all options, is $123 million.
The Air Force is still in negotiations with the remaining offerors and subsequent awards, if any, will occur over the next few months. These RPS investments, which will initially occur over the course of 12-18 months, will build the foundation for future investments in industry launch system solutions and launch service commitments from interested companies.
The contracts are shared public-private investments in Rocket Propulsion System (RPS) prototypes and are the result of a competitive acquisition with multiple offers received. The contract number is FA8811-16-9-0002. ULA is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin [LMT] and Boeing [BA].