Blue Origin and Stoke Space Selected for U.S. Space Force Small Satellite Missions

The U.S. Space Force has recently expanded its roster of launch providers for small satellite missions, adding Blue Origin and Stoke Space Technologies. These companies will now be eligible to compete for short-turnaround missions under the Orbital Services Program-4 (OSP-4) contract.

About OSP-4 Contract

The OSP-4 contract, established by the Air Force in 2019, is an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract designed to harness emerging commercial launch capabilities. IDIQ contracts enable the government to procure an indefinite quantity of supplies or services over a set period, placing orders as needed.

Past Achievements and Future Goals

To date, the Space Force’s small launch division at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has awarded seven missions under the OSP-4 contract, with a total value exceeding $190 million. The program targets missions with payloads of 400 pounds or more, requiring providers to be launch-ready within 12 to 24 months from the task order award. The overall contract has a $986 million ceiling through October 2028.

Blue Origin’s Strategic Move

Blue Origin’s inclusion in OSP-4 follows its recent selection for the National Security Space Launch Phase 3 Lane 1 procurement. This development indicates the Space Force’s expectation that Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket will commence payload launches within the next year.

Stoke Space’s Ambitious Entry

Stoke Space, a relatively new player, has made significant strides by conducting the first hot-fire test of its reusable rocket engine. The company aims to achieve its first orbital test launch by 2025.

Official Statement

Lt. Col. Steve Hendershot, who oversees the Space Force’s small launch procurements, highlighted the strategic importance of adding these providers. In a news release on July 3, he stated, “The addition of these emerging providers preserves, stimulates, and enhances the small launch industrial base and yields the Space Force a diverse vendor pool to support the nation’s defense. We are excited to add Blue Origin and Stoke Space as the newest providers on the OSP-4 contract.”

Complementing Larger Programs

Hendershot also emphasized that the small launch program is designed to complement the larger National Security Space Launch program, offering access to a broader range of solutions that may not be available through other initiatives.

Expanding the Vendor Pool

Blue Origin and Stoke Space join a prestigious list of 10 other launch providers on the OSP-4 contract. These include ABL Space Systems, Aevum, Astra, Firefly Aerospace, Northrop Grumman, Relativity Space, Rocket Lab, SpaceX, United Launch Alliance, and X-Bow.

The addition of Blue Origin and Stoke Space to the OSP-4 contract marks a significant step for the U.S. Space Force in maintaining and enhancing its small launch capabilities, ensuring a robust and diverse industrial base to support national defense objectives.

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