Reportedly, eight commercial launch providers—SpaceX, Northrop Grumman, Xbow Launch Systems, United Launch Alliance, Firefly Aerospace, Vox Space, Aevum, and Rocket Lab—have been picked to offer launch services for the OSP-4 (Orbital Services Program-4)—which is a $986 Million contract of launch services for 9 Years. The Air Force declared the winners in the last week. The OSP-4 is planned to address small and medium payloads more than 181.4 Kgs (400 lbs) and providers have to be capable of delivering these consignments to orbit in 12–24 Months following receiving an order. The plan is organized by the Air Force SMC’s (Space and Missile Systems Center) Small Launch and Targets Division, New Mexico.
OSP-4 is a development to the OSP-3 (Orbital/Suborbital Program-3) bid that will conclude in November. Northrop Grumman and SpaceX were the only firms that bagged contracts under OSP-3. Lockheed Martin was removed from the program in 2016 ahead of awarding any operations. The OSP-4 multi-vendor contract is called an “MA-IDIQ (multiple-award, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity)” deal. The eight firms will be granted $50,000 as the bid’s minimum guarantee. With the MA-IDIQ bid, the Air Force will contend for almost 20 missions amongst the awardees. In this contract, the U.S. administrative customer will be capable of ordering a launch to any orbit for 12–24 Months from the task order award.
Recently, SpaceX was in the news as Elon Musk stated that the aerospace has invested “hundreds of millions” extra in constructing astronaut capsule for NASA. Apparently, SpaceX is in the last phase of advancing the capsule it will utilize to launch astronauts, which is a project that has directed the company’s resources and even funds for the last few years. The capsule is known as Crew Dragon and will carry at least 7 people to the ISS (International Space Station) and more.