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The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee is not a big fan of the Air Force’s plan to transition to a new generation of launch vehicles. He has criticized the National Security Space Launch Phase 2 Launch Service Procurement for restricting competition and creating a duopoly instead of a more open market. The House Appropriations Committee, on the other hand, commended the Air Force’s launch procurement strategy for increasing competition and eliminating U.S. reliance on Russian rocket engines. “The national security space launch program is going through a critical transition as it phases out legacy launch systems and considers a variety of new and upgraded rockets to meet the full slate of national security mission requirements,” says the HAC report submitted with its proposed 2020 defense budget.
The Air Force requested $1.2 billion to procure four launches in fiscal year 2020, and $432 million to continue funding next-generation vehicles under the Launch Service Agreement program. The HAC fully funded the request.
Three new vehicles — ...