Aug 7, 2020 - Science

Space Force selects ULA, SpaceX for major national security contracts

Earth from space as seen at night

Earth from space by night. Photo: NASA

The U.S. Space Force has awarded United Launch Alliance and SpaceX hundreds of millions of dollars to fly national security payloads to space in the coming years.

Why it matters: The money provided by these competitive government contracts keeps space companies in business and flying to orbit regularly.

Details: ULA will receive the bulk of the funds, with $337 million going to the company for two missions expected to launch in 2022.

  • SpaceX will receive $316 million for one mission launching in 2022.
  • It's not yet clear what the nature of these missions will be.
  • "We're excited about the new technology that's being brought into launch," William Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, said during a press call. "We don't think this is the last round of innovation that we're going to see."

The big picture: SpaceX and ULA weren't the only companies competing for this award. Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman also put in bids but didn't receive funds in this round.

  • This type of government money is particularly important for space companies right now as the coronavirus pandemic has caused some other sources of business to contract.
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