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NASA awards Venture class launch services contract

Stephen Kuper

NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP) has awarded multiple Venture Class Launch Services Demonstration 2 (VCLS Demo 2) contracts to launch small satellites (SmallSats) to space, including CubeSats, microsats or nanosatellites.

NASA awards Venture class launch services contract
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The three companies selected to provide these commercial launch capabilities, and the value of their firm fixed-price contracts, are:

  • Astra Space Inc. of Alameda, California: $3.9 million
  • Relativity Space Inc. of Long Beach, California: $3.0 million
  • Firefly Black LLC of Cedar Park, Texas: $9.8 million

SmallSats, including CubeSats, are playing an increasingly larger role in exploration, technology demonstration, scientific research, and educational investigations at NASA. These miniature satellites provide a low-cost platform for NASA missions.

LSP supports the agency’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) by providing launch opportunities to CubeSats that are awaiting launch. The VCLS Demo 2 contracts will launch CubeSats selected through the CSLI to demonstrate a launch capability for smaller payloads that NASA anticipates it will require on a recurring basis for future science missions.

The Earth Science Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate has partnered with LSP to fund the VCLS Demo 2 contracts. These VCLS Demo 2 launches of small satellites can tolerate a higher level of risk than larger missions and will demonstrate – and help mitigate – risks associated with the use of new launch vehicles providing access to space for future small spacecraft and missions.

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NASA's Launch Services Program is responsible for launching uncrewed rockets delivering spacecraft that observe the Earth, visit other planets and explore the universe - from weather satellites to telescopes to Mars rovers and more.

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