Space Force to award up to $50 million in contracts for space test program experiments

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Suppliers will compete for work orders under a five-year Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract

WASHINGTON — The Space Force is changing its approach to procuring satellites for the space test program, which for decades has been running experiments for the U.S. government and its allies.

Instead of awarding separate contracts for STP missions, Space Force will select a group of vendors who will compete for $50 million in task orders under an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract of five year.

The plan is to select a mix of vendors capable of producing spacecraft ranging from 12U cubesats to 180-kilogram ESPA-class satellites. These contractors will be responsible for design, develop and manufacture the spacecraft, integrate experimental payloads, test the integrated space vehicle, support launch and post-launch operations.

A solicitation draft for the Space Test Experiment Platform 2.0, or STEP 2.0, program was released on October 18. A final request for proposals is expected to be issued in February and IDIQ contract awards are expected as early as July, said Col. Edward Byrne, deputy program director general for space domain awareness and combat power.

Byrne spoke at the Space Industry Days conference on October 20 in Los Angeles. His office will host an industry briefing October 25-27 to discuss STEP 2.0.

“The goal of the STEP 2.0 program is to fill the existing spacecraft supply gap within the space testing program and ensure that space experiments can be accommodated on free-flying satellite buses,” Byrne said.

The first mission order to be assigned will be for the STP Sat-8, a 12U cubesat scheduled for launch in 2025.

The STP program since its creation in 1965 has deployed more than 300 missions.

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