US Air Force starts to make payments to cap off final EELV launches

by | Oct 3, 2019 | Launches, Military space

Due to mission delays putting some of its launches beyond 30 Sept 2019, the US Air Force Missiles and Space Center has signed a follow up Launch Operations Support (LOPS) contract with the ULA worth US$1.18 billion covering NRO L-44, NRO L-82, NRO L-91, NRO L-68 and NRO L-70 which are due to be launched on five separate Delta IV Heavy rockets in the 2020-2024 time frame. In effect, each mission’s share of this is an addition to their original launch costs. Space News itemises these more carefully here.

NRO L-71 is sent on its way on a Delta IV Heavy. Courtesy: ULA

In a separate announcement, the US Air Force Missiles and Space Center announced a completion contract worth US$98.8 million for the Atlas V launches of the AEFH 6, AFSPC 7 (carrying the X-37B space plane) and NRO L-101 missions. The payments are being made to as the launches did not happen in the defined period under the original Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Launch Capability (ELC) contract. Space News has more detail here.

The US Air Force is in the process of winding down its original EELV launch Phase 1 and Phase 1A contracts, moving to the National Security Space Launch (NSSL) programme which it has already begun.



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