Astra Space has secured a contract from the Rocket Systems Launch Program (RSLP) of the US Space Force (USSF) for the Orbital Services Program (OSP)-4 programme.

Under the indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract, Astra will preserve, stimulate and improve the small launch industrial base.

The company also claims that it supports the USSF in securing a unique vendor pool in support of the nation’s defence.

According to the company, OSP-4 allows for the rapid acquisition of launch services to meet the requirements of mission for payloads weighing more than 400lb.

This rapid acquisition enables launch to any orbit within one to two years from the award of the task order.

Launch Enterprise Small Launch and Targets division chief lieutenant colonel Justin Beltz said: “We need this IDIQ contract to continue to introduce speed, agility, and flexibility into the launch enterprise and continue to cultivate a resilient and affordable launch market.”

The multiple-award IDIQ has a combined ceiling value of $986m and will have a nine-year ordering period.

Within that period, the USSF expects to secure a total of around 20 missions from Astra and other providers.

Astra chief business officer Martin Attiq said: “It is an honour to serve the United States by building a more resilient space programme.

“This new contract simplifies the process to make responsive launch a critical and credible capability for our nation.”

The OSP-4 builds on the OSP-3 programme and will involve providing responsive launch solutions to the USAF.

In October 2019, the USAF selected Firefly Black to compete for launch service contracts under the OSP-4 programme.