An Air Force launch services contract initially awarded to Vector Launch has been awarded to Aevum after the former relinquished the contract due to financial difficulties. The $4.9 million contract was awarded by the US Air Force’s Rocket Systems Launch Program to supply launch services for its ASLON-45 mission.
In a September 9 press release, the US Air Force confirmed that its Agile Small Launch Operational Normalizer (ASLON)-45 mission had been awarded to Aevum. The contract to launch the mission had initially been awarded to Vector Launch on August 6. However, the company was forced to withdraw from the contract on August 26 after it ran into financial difficulties that all but crippled it.
The awarding of the ASLON-45 mission to a new contractor was completed within just fourteen days of Vector withdrew.
“We re-awarded this mission in just 14 days, with no impact to launch or mission,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Rose, Small Launch and Targets Division Chief. “My team is working hard to make contract awards faster and this is an outstanding example of how we exemplify resiliency and flexibility in our contracting and acquisition practices.”
If Lt. Col. Rose’s comments are accurate, the ASLON-45 mission will be launched in the third quarter of 2021, the launch window stipulated in the original contract awarded to Vector. The mission will carry multiple experimental 3U and larger US government cubesats to Low Earth orbit in support of the Defense Department’s Space Test Program.
Although the ASLON-45 contract is the first US Air Force launch services contract awarded to Aevum, the company has previously been awarded an Air Force Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I contract. The SBIR contract was focused on assisting the company in developing its fully autonomous vehicle and space logistics service. The exact amount awarded to the company is not known but SBIR Phase I contracts only allow for a maximum award of $150,000.