The U.S. Space Force’s Small Launch and Targets Division’s Office at Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, New Mexico, part of Space Systems Command’s (SSC) Assured Access to Space (AATS) organization, awarded a $29.9 million task order to Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation on Sept. 30, 2022, for the Space Test Program (STP)-S29A launch service. This is the fourth task order under the Orbital Services Program-4 (OSP-4) Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract. STP-S29A is a complex mission that will deliver technology demonstrations to orbit and contribute to future space system development. Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation’s Minotaur IV launch vehicle will deliver up to 200kg of STP cubesats, with specific payloads finalized during task order performance, to low earth orbit with a planned launch date in Sept. 2024.
“The competitive award of the STP-S29A task order is a prime example of the flexible and responsive contracting processes that SSC is using to deliver resilient and affordable space capabilities,” said Col. Chad Melone, SSC Launch Procurement and Integration Division, chief. “I’m proud of the work AATS is doing to support the Department of Defense’s (DOD) science and technology efforts.”
The STP-S29A mission will provide orbital launch services for the DOD STP. The DOD STP advances the maturation of space-based warfighter technologies across the DOD enterprise by providing space access solutions for all research and development-related DOD auxiliary payloads on DOD, civil, and commercial launches and for all non-DOD auxiliary payloads seeking launch opportunities on DOD missions. STP will provide payloads for STP-S29A via the DOD Space Experiments Review Board along with international and rideshare experiments.
OSP-4 allows for the rapid acquisition of launch services to meet mission requirements enabling launch within 12-24 months from task order award on a competitive basis. OSP-4 also allows for periodic on-ramps throughout the ordering period to ensure that emerging, innovative launch providers can compete for future missions.
Space Systems Command, headquartered at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, California, is the USSF Field Command responsible for rapidly developing, acquiring, equipping, fielding, and sustaining lethal and resilient space capabilities. SSC mission capability areas include launch acquisition and operations, communications and positioning, navigation and timing (PNT), space sensing, battle management command, control, and communications (BMC3), and space domain awareness & combat power.