The US Space Force (USSF) has awarded a $29.9m task order to Northrop Grumman Systems for the Space Test Programme (STP)-S29A launch service.

It has been awarded by USSF’s Small Launch and Targets Division’s Office at Kirtland Air Force Base (AFB) in New Mexico.

The Kirtland AFB-based office is also part of the Space Systems Command’s (SSC) Assured Access to Space (AATS) organisation.

According to the SSC, the complex STP-S29A mission focuses on delivering technology demonstrations to orbit, for the development of future space systems.

As part of the latest award, Northrop Grumman’s Minotaur IV launch vehicle will deliver nearly 200kg of STP cubesats, along with specific payloads, to the low earth orbit.

The launch of the satellites is expected in September 2024.

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SSC Launch Procurement and Integration division chief colonel Chad Melone said: “The competitive award of the STP-S29A task order is a prime example of the flexible and responsive contracting processes that SSC is using to deliver resilient and affordable space capabilities.”

This is the fourth task order under the indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract for Orbital Services Programme-4 (OSP-4).

The OSP-4 effort supports quick acquisition of launch services to fulfil the mission needs by facilitating the launch within one to two years from the time of award, which is secured on competitive grounds. 

The STP-S29A mission will provide orbital launch services for the US Department of Defense’s space-based test programmes.

It will further facilitate the maturation of space-based technologies to support the warfighters by delivering space access solutions to carry out all research and development related auxiliary payloads on civil, defence and commercial launches.