On January 26, NASA announced it awarded a dozen companies contracts to launch payloads aboard rideshare missions as part of the Venture-Class Acquisition of Dedicated and Rideshare (VADR) program, which is dedicated to launching CubeSats and small satellites by sharing rocket space with larger payloads owned by other companies and organizations. Sharing a rocket with multiple payloads enables aerospace companies to provide cost-effective launch services by taking full advantage of a single launch. This enables organizations and universities with a smaller budget to partner with NASA to launch science payloads to outer space at an affordable price. The 12 companies that NASA awarded VADR contracts to are: SpaceX, Blue Origin, ABL Space Systems, Astra Space, L2 Solutions, Northrop Grumman, Phantom Space Corporation, Rocket Lab, Spaceflight Inc., United Launch Services, and Virgin Orbit.
“The fixed-price indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts have a five-year ordering period with a maximum total value of $300 million across all contracts,” the agency said in a press release. “The acquisition also includes a special on-ramp provision to enable additional providers and incumbents to submit proposals introducing launch services for new capabilities not available or identified at the time of the initial contract award.”
“We are incredibly excited to announce the awardees for VADR from a broad range of established and emerging launch providers and launch service aggregators and brokers,” said Bradley Smith, director of launch services at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “This speaks to our expertise in understanding the launch market as we crafted VADR to maximize our efforts in enabling a growing U.S launch industry. With this new tool in our toolbox, these tremendously flexible contracts will meet a wide variety of NASA science and technology needs, further enhancing the agency’s Launch Services Program’s reputation as Earth’s bridge to space.”
Featured Image Source: NASA