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Space Force awards $2.5 billion in rocket contracts to ULA, SpaceX

United Launch Alliance's Vulcan rocket first certification mission (#Cert1) is scheduled to launch on Dec. 24 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. On Tuesday, U.S. Space Force awarded ULA 11 missions, valued at $1.3 billion. Photo courtesy of ULA
United Launch Alliance's Vulcan rocket first certification mission (#Cert1) is scheduled to launch on Dec. 24 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. On Tuesday, U.S. Space Force awarded ULA 11 missions, valued at $1.3 billion. Photo courtesy of ULA

Nov. 1 (UPI) -- The U.S. Space Force has awarded $2.5 billion in rocket contracts to SpaceX and United Launch Alliance for 21 missions expected to launch over the next two to three years.

The missions announced Tuesday are the final round of orders under the National Security Space Launch Phase 2 contract, which the two companies won in 2020.

SpaceX received 10 new missions, valued at $1.23 billion. ULA, which is a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, received assignments for 11 missions, valued at $1.3 billion.

"Under our Phase 2 contract, ULA and SpaceX have been committed partners, and our combined team remains dedicated to delivery of critical assets to our warfighters as we complete this phase of the NSSL program and embark on NSSL Phase 3 starting in FY25," Col. Chad Melone, senior material leader for mission solutions at the Space Systems Command, said in a statement.

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The Space Force ordered a total of 48 missions over the five years of the Phase 2 contract, with only one launching so far. USSF-67 launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket in January 2023. The government is expected to buy an estimated 90 launches in Phase 3, with winners announced late next year.

SpaceX was awarded 10 missions, valued at $1.23 billion Tuesday, as part of the final round of U.S. Space Force orders under the National Security Space Launch Phase 2 contract. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI
SpaceX was awarded 10 missions, valued at $1.23 billion Tuesday, as part of the final round of U.S. Space Force orders under the National Security Space Launch Phase 2 contract. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI

While ULA originally won 60% of the Phase 2 missions, the latest assignments evened things out, with ULA taking 54% or 26 of the missions, and SpaceX winning 46% or a total of 22 missions.

"The government considered multiple factors in the mission assignment analysis process, including the launch system maturity assessment process, production capability and capacity, and the ability to meet the order year launch demand," Col. Doug Pentecost, deputy program executive officer for assured access to space at Space Systems Command, said in a statement.

"It is imperative to rapidly deliver critical space capabilities to the Joint Warfighter as soon as they are ready to be launched -- we cannot leave capability sitting on the ground."