After last minute revisions, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) gave its approval to legislation that makes the national security space launch program more competitive.
The changes that were made comprised retention of two main provisions that were beneficial to Blue Origin and SpaceX and erased two which had faced opposition from Northrop Grumman and United Launch Alliance. Among the four, it will be two who will obtain positions in the National Security Space Launch Phase 2 Launch Service Procurement.
The provisions of original section 1601 were changed after a deal was struck by Reps. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) and Jason Crow (D-Colo.) with HASC Chairman Adam Smith. The deal was finalized after a lot of discussions and give and take of information. Smith wanted the Phase 2 to provide a level playing field for all and hence he was not keen to keeping Phase 2 to just two launch providers.
The first provision of the final deal was to allow other competitors to offer bids for Phase 2 missions on completion of 29 launches by Air Force. As per estimates of the Air Force, 34 launches would comprise the Phase 2 manifest. The second provision was for creation of a ‘certification and infrastructure fund’ for $500 million to be given to SpaceX if it became a winner in the Phase 2 contract. The third and fourth provisions of the original were eliminated. The third provision entailed the Defense Secretary to ensure equal supplier and material accessibility. The fourth provision necessitated bidders to explain for government investments in their pricing.
The amendments were made when Smith came to know about the Lamborn-Crow amendment that was to come forth and the large support mobilized for it. In any case, the amendments were a win-win for all parties involved.
However, the provisions will become law only after they are approved by a full House and then a House-Senate conference that will make a reconciliation of differences and prepare the final NDAA report.
With a degree in Astrophysics, Michael Graves started his writing career as a freelance writer and now, with hard work and dedication, is working as a full-fledged writer. He is given the accountability to write news articles and blogs associated with the new inventions & innovations in Science world, galaxies and outer space, new satellite & spacecraft liftoffs, findings & discoveries, and much more. Michael, in spare time, aspires to take on different courses and acquire deep knowledge about the space worlds.