NASA picks five for $6B agile spacecraft acquisition vehicle

NASA has selected five companies for the potential 10-year, $6 billion recompete of a contract to provide spacecraft systems, related components and other services to the agency in a faster and more agile manner.

Awardees will compete for delivery orders over the duration of the Rapid Spacecraft Acquisition IV contract that other federal agencies also have access to, NASA said Friday.

The winners are:

  • Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.
  • Maxar Technologies
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Southwest Research Institute
  • Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems

Acquisitions run through this vehicle take anywhere between six and eight months with a delivery order period of performance averaging 24-to-36 months.

Ball Aerospace will continue its incumbent role on the program, as will Maxar and Northrop. Maxar acquired Space Systems Loral, which had a place on the former RAPID III contract. Northrop also was an incumbent on that vehicle alongside Orbital ATK, which the former acquired two years ago.

A number of bidders for the new RAPID IV vehicle is unknown, but Deltek data indicates the incumbents that apparently will not continue on include Airbus, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Thales Group and the former Vencore (now Perspecta).

The new contract includes an on-ramp feature for NASA to periodically re-open the solicitation and allow new prospective vendors the opportunity to propose their spacecraft designs. NASA also uses the on-ramp to give companies already on the vehicle opportunity to propose additional spacecraft designs and/or update their existing catalog of offerings.

About the Author

Ross Wilkers is a senior staff writer for Washington Technology. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @rosswilkers. Also connect with him on LinkedIn.

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