The United States Air Force (USAF) announced that United Launch Alliance (ULA) was awarded a contract to launch the Space Test Program-3 (STP-3) mission.
According to the firm fixed-price, standalone contract valued at $191 million, ULA will provide launch vehicle production, mission integration, launch operations and spaceflight certification, said the USAF announcement. The contract resulted from a competitive award under the Air Force’s Phase 1A procurement strategy, said a statement from ULA.
“We are honored that the Air Force has entrusted ULA with launching this important test mission,” said Tory Bruno, ULA’s president and CEO. “ULA offers the most reliable ride to space. With a mission success record of 100 percent and a tremendous heritage of 71 consecutive successful Atlas V launches, we provide the best overall launch service for our customers. ULA is the choice for customers when a critical payload must be delivered to space on-time and safely.”
The STP-3 mission is scheduled to launch in the summer of 2019 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. This mission will launch aboard an Atlas V 551 vehicle.
The STP-3 mission consists of a primary space vehicle (STPSat-6) and an integrated propulsive EELV Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA) holding up to six payloads (IP-ESPA). The STPSat-6 space vehicle will host the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), Space and Atmospheric Burst Reporting System-3 (SABRS-3) payload, and the NASA Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) payload. Additionally, seven science and technology (S&T) payloads are manifested by the Department of Defense Space Test Program on STPSat-6.
ULA also launched the first Space Test Program mission in March 2007. The launch marked the first Air Force Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) mission on an Atlas V and the first Atlas V mission for ULA.
Until now, ULA has successfully launched more than 115 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities to the Armed Forces.
Earlier this month, SpaceX was awarded a contract to launch Boeing X-37 Orbital Test Vehicle mission for the USAF. The X-37 was launched in its earlier four missions abroad a ULA launch vehicle.