Space Systems Command ordered five launches from United Launch Alliance (ULA) and three launches from SpaceX for national security missions on May 26.
ULA was awarded five missions using the Vulcan Centaur launch vehicle — GPS III-7, USSF-23, USSF-43, WGS-11+, and USSF-16. SpaceX was awarded three missions on the Falcon 9 launch vehicle — USSF-124, USSF-62, and one Space Development Agency Tranche 1 mission. These missions are planned to launch over the next two years.
These orders are part of the National Security Space Launch (NSSL) Phase 2 Launch Service Procurement contract, which ULA and SpaceX won in August 2020. ULA was contracted for approximately 60% of launch services orders and SpaceX for approximately 40% of launch services orders.
“Today’s action represents the crucial role the Space Force plays in putting vital space capability successfully into orbit to meet the emerging threat,” said Brig. Gen. Stephen Purdy, SSC program executive officer, Assured Access to Space. “Now, more than ever, we must do everything in our power to ensure each National Security Space launch is successful; it’s the best way to stay ahead of our adversaries in the near term.”
SpaceX’s USSF-124 mission will be conducted with SSC partners at the Missile Defense Agency. It will be launched from the eastern range. The USSF-62 mission includes the first Weather System Follow-on (WSF) satellite and will launch from the western range. And the SDA mission is the first of six missions launched by the Space Development Agency for the Tranche 1 Transport Layer. It will be launched from the western range.
ULA’s GPS III-7 mission is the seventh of 10 projected GPS III missions and will launch from the eastern range. The USSF-16, USSF-23 and USSF-43 are classified missions that will launch from the eastern range. Wideband Global SatCom (WGS-11) mission will also launch from the eastern range.