Word War Escalates As Air Force Gears Up For LSP Bids – Market News Store

Word War Escalates As Air Force Gears Up For LSP Bids

The verbal tussle between the House Armed Services Committee Chairman and the Air Force regarding competition of national security launch services involving multi-billion dollars is gaining momentum.

Adam Smith (D-Wash) has directed Heather Wilson, the Secretary of Air Force to postpone the second phase Launch Service Procurement (LSP). He also directed the two providers to put the launch during the spring of the next year. He wants the schedule to be as fair as possible and hence is not willing to rush for it.

Wilson however, is adamant that the LSP launch must immediately take place. He is of the opinion that any delay would stop the Air Force from meeting the objective of the Congress to stop using the rockets containing the RD-180 engine from Russia.

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) and the officials of Northrop Grumman had reiterated that they support the launch schedule that the Air Force has set. Official comments of SpaceX were not available, but the company is found to have no problem with the LSP launch schedule. Any delay in the launch will benefit Blue Origin LLC, the privately sponsored US aerospace manufacturer and the provider of sub-orbital space flight services.

Because of this impasse, the 5-year long commitment of the USAF to procure nearly 25 launches from 2022 to 2026 is in jeopardy. The winner of the tussle will get 60 % of these missions, while the other side will get the rest.

Even the allies of ULA have supported the USAF schedule. The schedule has also gained enough support from the Congress as 28 lawmakers had put down their signatures on a letter on April 12, urging Wilson to stick to the original schedule and go on for the LSP Phase 2 strategy.  The allies are of the opinion that the point of view of Smith is not consistent. It does not go with the launch schedule.

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