The U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) at Los Angeles AFB, Calif., is looking to choose a firm by the end of the year to manage up to $12 billion in Space Enterprise Consortium (SpEC) contracts over 10 years under the “SpEC Reloaded” effort.
South Carolina-based Advanced Technology International (ATI) has managed SpEC since its establishment in November 2017, but space prototype demand has grown so SMC decided to recompete the contract and issued a solicitation in March.
SpEC has 438 members–350 of which are non-traditional, per SMC–and has undertaken 81 prototype contracts.
“‘SpeC Reloaded’ we hope to award later this year,” SMC Commander Lt. Gen. John “JT” Thompson said on Nov. 18. “That will be a 10-year period of performance with a $12 billion ceiling on that contract vehicle so that SMC, Space RCO [Rapid Capabilities Office], NRO [National Reconnaissance Office], all of our partners can reach the right people within the economy to do that prototyping and innovation.”
Thompson made his remarks during a session of ASCEND 2020 sponsored by the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).
The prototype contracts have been in a variety of areas, including missile warning and command and control.
SMC develops and sustains the 31 satellite GPS constellation as well as provides missile warning satellites and satellite communications for U.S. and allied military forces.
Echoing comments made about Space Force by Chief of Space Operations Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, Thompson said that “we’re into fast, lean and agile going forward as a new service.”
“We’re trying to be very much more open to innovation and new ways of doing business, and we’re desperately trying to incorporate aspects of the new space economy into our realm,” he said. “We are tremendously valuing a closer relationship with industry.”
SMC is also planning outreach to small businesses and academic institutions through Space Pitch Days, the first of which last November resulted in $46 million in awards to 30 small businesses “with potentially game changing technologies,” Thompson said.
AFWERX and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) have also gotten into the act with the Space Accelerator and Space Challenge efforts, and Space Force altogether has sponsored more than 140 awards worth $130 million to small businesses through OTA and another $50 million in traditional contract awards, he said.
While the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden is likely to welcome efforts to reduce military space program costs and ease pathways for commercial technologies’ acceptance into the national security space arena, neither Biden nor his national security team have revealed their plans for the Space Force.