The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded an $882m contract to United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing, to continue launching satellites with its Delta IV and Atlas V rockets.
According to the Pentagon, the latest deal will cover launch capability, mission integration, base and range support.
Under the contract, ULA will deliver services that include maintenance commodities, Delta and Atlas depreciation, and provides for mission assurance, programme management and systems engineering.
Other services to be provided include the integration of the space vehicle with the launch vehicle, launch site and range operations, and launch infrastructure maintenance and sustainment.
Work on the contract will be carried out at Littleton, Colorado; Vandenberg Air Force Base, California; and Cape Canaveral Air Station, Florida, US, and is expected to be complete by 30 September 2016.
Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, will serve as the contracting activity.
The USAF recently started the official bidding for the development of a new prototype rocket propulsion systems, in a bid to develop a US-built system in order to stop relying on Russian engines.
As part of this development, the air force certified SpaceX to compete for some military and spy satellite launches in May.
Image: The Delta IV medium rocket taking off. Photo: courtesy of U.S. Air Force / Carleton Bailie.