By Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Tony Capaccio · NATIONAL, NATIONAL-SECURITY
The funding reflects the priority that President Donald Trump and Defense Secretary Mark Esper are placing on the new force, starting with a total proposed budget of $15.4 billion for fiscal 2021. The Air Force previously oversaw offensive and defensive operations in space and was the primary buyer of launch services.
The Pentagon request sent to Congress this month includes $2.4 billion for Space Force procurement of satellites, terminals, ground control stations, launch services and communications security.
The procurement funding is estimated to grow to $2.7 billion in 2022, $3.4 billion in 2023, $4 billion in 2024 and $4.7 billion in fiscal 2025, according to Office of Management and Budget projections released with the Defense Department's five-year budget plan.
Within the procurement funding, $1 billion would pay for three national security satellite launches in fiscal 2021, $1.4 billion for five launches a year in 2022 and 2023, $1.6 billion for six in 2024 and $1.9 billion for seven in 2025, according to a separate breakdown by the Air Force.
"The Space Force's intent is to compete as much as possible all launch service procurements where more than one certified provider can service" the missions, according to a budget document.
The eligible competitors at this point are Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin, Northrop Grumman, Elon Musk's SpaceX and the United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
United Launch Alliance and SpaceX have competed for the current phase of launches. The Air Force plans to select two of the eligible contractors in May to compete for subsequent launches.