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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

OTAs too big to ignore

The Air Force awarded three Other Transaction Authority awards of varying value this week to continue development work for a new launch system.

United Launch Services, Orbital Sciences Corp. (now part of Northrop Grumman), and Blue Origin each won an OTA. The work is for development of a launch system prototype for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle. The government is developing the vehicle as part of an effort to lower the cost delivering payloads to space.

Each company has a different value attached to their OTA:

  • United Launch Services - $967 million
  • Orbital Sciences -- $791.6 million
  • Blue Origin - $500 million

OTAs have gained a lot of attention in the last couple years as agencies look for easier and quicker ways to procure new technologies.

But OTAs are nothing new. They have been around since the 1950s. NASA, for example, used them to develop the rockets and vehicles that have power space flight.

These awards are in the same category as the more traditional OTA usage.

I point these particular awards out for several reasons:

  • A reminder that OTAs aren’t new.
  • OTAs can be very large.
  • Don’t ignore OTAs.

The second and third reasons are very much linked in my mind. Most companies can’t build a vehicle that will take payloads into space, but all of you can support those companies.

It is in your best interest to pay attention and follow the money.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Oct 12, 2018 at 11:32 AM


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