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Frank Calvelli: Phase 3 NSSL Acquisition Strategy Could Be Ready by End of Fall

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Frank Calvelli, assistant secretary of the Air Force for space acquisitions and integration, said he expects the U.S. Space Force’s acquisition strategy for the third phase of the National Security Space Launch program to be finalized by the end of the fall of 2022, Defense News reported Wednesday.

The Space Force’s plan comes amid a call from the House Armed Services Committee to look at “new and innovative” acquisition approaches for the next round of contracts for medium and heavy launch services.

Based on its version of the defense policy bill for fiscal year 2023, the House panel urged the service branch to consider options that would allow the government to add contractors during the NSSL program’s Phase 3 “to address manifest changes beyond the planned national security space unique launches at the time of the initial award.”

Calvelli said the acquisition team is considering whether to keep the Rocket Systems Launch Program separate from the NSSL contract.

RSLP is the Space Force’s contracting mechanism for small launch services and could be used to coordinate launch services for missions not covered by the NSSL program.

In August 2020, the Space Force awarded NSSL Phase 2 contracts to SpaceX and United Launch Alliance.