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Air Force Releases Request for Information for STP-4

The Air Force has a requirement to launch the STP-4 mission in April 2021 on an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV)-class vehicle. This mission will require a direct injection to geosynchronous orbit for a satellite with a total mass range of 3,900kg - 6,300 kg. In order to achieve this launch date, a launch service contract must be in place by April 2019.

This is a direct-to-GEO mission that’s well within the capability of the current certified launch vehicles, but interestingly, they put out a Request for Information instead of a Request for Proposal.

Please provide responses to the following questions:

1. Does your company anticipate having the capability to perform a direct injection to geosynchronous orbit for a satellite weighing 3,900kg - 6,300 kg in April 2021?

2. Would your company respond to a request for proposal for STP-4?

I can only think of one company who would be able to launch that much directly to geostationary orbit by April 2021 that the Air Force doesn’t already have a wealth of information about.

It certainly reads to me like they really want to see some details about what New Glenn could offer, and they want to know if Blue Origin would put a bid in for the launch.

It’s also worth noting that the Space Test Program is shown to be comfortable with flying on new launch vehicles—the upcoming STP-2 is flying on the second-ever Falcon Heavy flight.