NASA smallsat launch contract selection statement pulls no punches on provider readiness

NASA tapped Astra, Firefly, and Relativity Space for its Venture Class Launch Services Demo 2 program, giving each company a contract to launch a group of smallsats into orbit to demonstrate the capabilities of their new vehicles. NASA didn’t share their reasoning for the selections or who else submitted proposals in that announcement. This information is found in a source selection statement published later in the month that addresses each company’s strengths and weaknesses.

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NASA awards launch contracts to three companies through its Launch Services Program

As part of its Launch Services Program (LSP), NASA has awarded Venture Class Launch Services Demonstration 2 (VCLS Demo 2) contracts to three different companies. Those three companies and the fixed-price of their contracts are as follows:

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Relativity Space gains $500 million in new round of investor funding

Tim Ellis, CEO of Relativity Space, announced that his company has gained $500 million from “top tier blue chip investors.” When talking with CNBC, Ellis called the new funding the company’s “war chest” for accomplishing its primary goal of revolutionizing how rockets are built and flown.

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Relativity Space expanding 3D printed rocket engine testing at Stennis Space Center

Eric Berger has published a new profile of the rocket startup Relativity Space for Ars Technica, including new reporting on the company’s activity at Stennis Space Center.

Relativity Space is on a mission to launch rockets assembled through automation and 3D printed components. The company is currently developing its 3D printed Aeon engine and Terran 1 launch vehicle that it plans to fly as soon as 2021.

Relativity Space operates three Stennis test facilities (E-4, E-3, and now E-2) as well as the Stennis Factory it secured last summer. In the piece, the company discloses their expanded presence in Mississippi for the first time.

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