The U.S. Air Force‘s Space and Missile Systems Center may open competition this spring for 28 commercial launches of military and intelligence satellites to bolster the use of U.S.-made rocket engines, Reuters reported Saturday.
Andrea Shalal writes that both the government and private sector will fund the potential program, which aims to launch the first satellite by 2022.
The effort is modeled after NASA‘s use of commercial launch providers to transport cargo and crew to the International Space Station and end reliance on Russia to provide the rocket engines, the report said.
Shalal reports that a request for information was issued on Feb. 18 with a response period ending March 20.
Contract awards could take place between fiscal years 2016 and 2018 for the rocket launches scheduled through fiscal 2024.
Congress has passed legislation last year that mandates the Air Force to stop using the Russia-made RD-180 rocket engine and establish a U.S. engine as a national asset, Shalal writes.