The Air Force’s SMC (Space and Missile Systems Center) in recent time issued the final request for bids for the reason of competitively awarding deals in 2020 to two national launch service providers. Seemingly, the proposals are due for August 1. The NSSL’s (National Security Space Launch) Phase 2 LSP (Launch Service Procurement) is the second phase of the plan earlier known as the EELV (Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle) and in recent time was renamed as NSSL. Overseen by the NRO (National Reconnaissance Office) and the Air Force, the NSSL program would consider expendable and reusable launch vehicles.
Two vendors would be picked in 2020 from a field that is projected to comprise present national security launch providers SpaceX and ULA (United Launch Alliance), plus new entrants like Northrop Grumman and Blue Origin. The LSP covers launch service acquisitions starting in the financial year 2020 and throughout 2024 for missions that would be launched through 2027. The 5-Year deal would include almost 25 missions. One of the winners would acquire 60% and the other 40%. The NRO and the Air Force are expected to spend around a billion dollars every year on national security launch services.
On a similar note, recently, the U.S. Air Force effectively trialed a laser system for shooting down missiles. The system is intended to eventually be built upon aircraft to be utilized to defend the vehicle from attacks. The AFRL (Air Force Research Laboratory) carried the test at the U.S. Army’s WDMR (White Sands Missile Range), New Mexico in April. The system is known as the SHiELD (Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator) and was launched from the ground to shoot down “several air-launched missiles in flight.” Major General William Cooley—the AFRL’s Commander—stated that the test is a “huge step further for directed energy systems and defense against adversarial threats.”