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Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle J&A

Solicitation Number:
Agency: Department of the Air Force
Office: Air Force Space Command
Location: SMC - Space and Missile Systems Center
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Justification and Approval (J&A)
FAR 6.302-1 - Only one responsible source (except brand name)
January 13, 2012
Added: Jan 27, 2012 2:48 pm

Acquisition Office: Air Force Space Command (AFSPC)
Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC)
Launch and Range Systems Directorate
Contracts Division (LRK)
483 N. Aviation Blvd.
El Segundo, CA 90245

Authority: 10 U.S.C. 2304 (c)(1) as implemented by FAR 6.302-1(a)(2)(iii)(B)

Solicitation/Contract: FA8811-12-C-0002

Incumbent Contracts: Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Launch Capability Bridge
Contract (FA8811-11-C-0002)
Atlas EELV Launch Service Contract (FA8816-06-C-0004)
Delta EELV Launch Service Contract (FA8816-06-C-0005)

Contractor: United Launch Services, LLC
P.O. Box 277005
Littleton CO 80127

II. Description of Action

The authority for these actions is 10 U.S.C. 2304 (c)(1) as implemented by FAR 6.302-1 (a)(2)(iii)(B), Only One Responsible Source and No Other Supplies or Services Will Satisfy Agency Requirements due to delays in fulfilling the agency's requirements.

This class Justification and Authorization (J&A) is to authorize sole-source award of contracts to United Launch Services, LLC (ULS) to satisfy EELV-class National Security Space (NSS) launch requirements from Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 to FY17. This J&A provides sole-source authority for two acquisitions until a full-and-open competition is feasible. This includes a contract for FY12 launch services and contract(s) for FY13-17 launch service requirements.

This J&A will enable assured access to space using currently available, high-confidence space launch systems that have repeatedly demonstrated the capability and reliability required to accurately and safely deliver EELV-class National Security Space (NSS) satellites to orbit. Separate actions, not covered by this J&A, will be undertaken during this period to facilitate demonstration and qualification of additional, new space launch systems that will be considered for competitively-awarded space launch contracts when these systems are mature and proven, which is expected in or after FY16.

It is anticipated various contract types will be used, as appropriate. The procurement and production of launch vehicles will be acquired under a Firm Fixed Price construct and the launch capability and other support functions may be acquired under a Cost-Plus type construct.

III. Description of Supplies/Services

Under the contemplated contracts, the Air Force will continue to acquire critical services necessary to satisfy U.S. military and intelligence space launch requirements. EELV-class NSS launch requirements include the threshold mass-to-orbit requirements specified in the System Performance Requirements Document (SPRD) for Air Force, Navy, and National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) missions. The services provided include, but are not limited to, the following: procurement and production of launch vehicle hardware; mission integration and assurance; program management; systems engineering; transportation of launch system components; launch site operations and support; factory support; essential infrastructure support; and any EELV launch-related special studies.

The total estimated dollar value of all contracts within this class J&A is estimated to be $19B with procurement funds and a limited amount of research and development funds. The total period of performance of the contracts authorized by this J&A will be from contract award until the completion of the FY17 requirement. Therefore, the anticipated period of performance is expected to be from FY12 to FY19 for all contracts.

IV. Statutory Authority Permitting Other Than Full and Open Competition

The statutory authority of this action is contracting by Other than Full and Open Competition, 10 USC § 2304(c)(1), as implemented by FAR 6.302-1(a)(2)(iii)(B). FAR 6.302-1(a)(2) states, "When the supplies or services required by the agency are available from only one responsible source, or, for DOD, NASA, and the Coast Guard, from only one or a limited number of responsible sources, and no other type of supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements, full and open competition need not be provided for." Subparagraph (iii) goes on to state, "Services may be deemed to be available only from the original source in the case of follow-on contracts for the continued provision of highly specialized services when it is likely that award to any other source would result in--"; subparagraph (B) "Unacceptable delays in fulfilling the agency's requirements."

V. Applicability of Authority

Sole source authorization for EELV-class national security missions launch services is necessary beginning in FY12 to assure U.S. access to space, in accordance with 10 U.S.C. §2273 and National Space Policy (June 28, 2010). Currently the U.S. has several vital satellite constellations for position and navigation, communication, missile warning, nuclear detection, weather, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance with aging satellites in need of constellation sustainment and resiliency. The inability to launch will delay the operational use of a spacecraft thereby reducing multiple constellations' operational availability and potentially endanger constellation health. This will reduce or preclude the ability of the warfighter to accomplish specific missions which utilize satellite systems such as Global Positioning System (GPS), Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS), Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF), Mobile User Objective System (MUOS), and other national assets. Significant launch delays will also impact other non-defense users such as transportation, agricultural, and financial sectors.

In accordance with FAR 6.302-1(A)(2)(iii)(B), full and open competition need not be pursued when it is likely that award to any other source would result in unacceptable delays in fulfilling the agency's requirements, in particular, for the continuation of highly-specialized services. EELV launch services require 98% reliability due to the high dollar value and national importance of the payloads aboard the rockets. This effort requires mechanical, electromagnetic, environmental, and other specialized engineering disciplines necessary for controlled explosions and remote controlled operations in dynamic space environments to insert spacecraft into orbit as well as considerable capital investments to provide these services. As explained below, ULS is currently the only launch provider that can meet the requirements for EELV-class NSS missions and has provided these services to the Government since 2006. In addition, the launch services provided by ULS have a proven record of successful launches since 2002.

Through market research, discussed in Section VIII, the Government determined no source other than ULS is capable of meeting the SPRD requirements until FY16. It would be an inefficient use of Government resources to hold a competitive source selection before a new entrant (a contractor other than ULS) has fully demonstrated they can meet the SPRD requirements. Based on this, it is expected RFP release can occur no earlier than FY16. As illustrated in the timeline below, a competitively awarded contract would not occur until FY18. This will cause an unacceptable delay in meeting mission requirements identified in FY12 - FY17. Therefore, this J&A must cover the launch service requirement ordering period of FY12 through FY17 to ensure there is no lapse in launch service coverage.

Activity: Anticipated Timeline:
New Entrant Available for Competition - Earliest Anticipated FY16
RFP Release FY16
Source Selection 1QFY17 - 4QFY17
Contract Award 1QFY18
First Launch Under Competitively Awarded Contract 1QFY20

VI. Efforts to Obtain Competition

In order to determine potential offerors, a Request for Information (RFI) was posted to the Federal Business Opportunity (FedBizOps) website in May 2011. The Government received and evaluated responses from ULS, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), Orbital Science Corporation (Orbital), and ATK Aerospace Systems (ATK). The Government also performed site visits at the respective contractors' facilities. The purpose of the RFI was to "seek information from domestic launch services providers that will enhance the Government's understanding of industry capabilities for providing EELV-class space launch services for national security space missions" and to "determine available sources in addition to the existing provider that will be capable of satisfying EELV-class NSS launch requirements from both Vandenberg AFB (VAFB) and Cape Canaveral AFS (CCAFS) starting no later than FY15 (for launch services to be ordered beginning as early as FY13)." The RFI was released as part of the market research effort for the FY13 buy but it was determined it is relevant and applicable to the FY12 requirements.

Interested sources were asked to submit information on launch systems that met or exceeded the requirements identified in the EELV SPRD. The Statement of Capability areas that were evaluated were the (1) ability to meet the requirements of the EELV SPRD; (2) design maturity, development, and qualification activities; manufacturing process quality; flight worthiness of the systems and subsystems; and the supporting non-recurring and recurring processes; and 3) business operations.

The Government intends to promote future competition in the EELV program; however, competition for EELV contract awards cannot begin until the SMC Commander certifies a potential EELV contractor can meet EELV-class mission requirements as described in the Air Force New Entrant Certification Guide, dated 7 November 2011. As further discussed in Section VIII, the Government's evaluation of the responses and additional market research concluded that ULS is the only provider capable of meeting the NSS EELV-class launch requirements from FY12 through FY16. Given the acquisition cycle, sole-source authority is necessary through FY17 to allow time for a competition once a New Entrant demonstrates they can meet the requirements of the SPRD. Additional efforts to foster competition are described in Section XI.

VII. Fair and Reasonable Costs

The Contracting Officer anticipates the cost for this effort will be considered fair and reasonable.
The contractor will bear the burden of submitting detailed, certified cost or pricing data with their initial proposal and for any future contract changes greater than $700,000.00, in accordance with FAR 15.403-4 - Require Cost or Pricing Data (10 U.S.C. § 2306a and 41 U.S.C. § 254b).
Subsequent to technical and cost evaluations of contractor proposals by the Government team, the Procuring Contracting Officer (PCO) will make a determination as to whether the cost is fair and reasonable, and document the basis for that determination. The PCO will determine reasonableness based on review and reconciliation of all sources of information, including, but not limited to: Audit Reports from the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA), Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) recommendations, EELV Program Office technical evaluations, and past history/performance. The SMC pricing evaluations will be supported by DCMA and DCAA teams at the contractor's facilities.

VIII. Market Research

As mentioned in Section VI and in accordance with FAR Part 10, the Government conducted market research to determine if additional sources existed that are capable of satisfying EELV system requirements for launch services ordered as early as FY12.

a. (ATK)

b. (Orbital)

c. (SpaceX)

d. ULS

Based on the market research performed to date, ULS is currently the only source that meets the EELV SPRD requirements and will be the only capable source until at least FY16.

IX. Other Facts:


X. Interested Sources

The Government received responses to the RFI posted on the FedBizOps website on 6 May 2011 from ULS, SpaceX, Orbital, and ATK. Responses were evaluated based on the information that was provided to the Government by the contractors. Each company was judged in terms of capability in three main areas to determine an overall assessment. The results of the Government review are discussed in Section VIII.

XI. Steps to Foster Competition

National Space Policy (June 28, 2010) directs agencies to continue to "develop launch systems and technologies necessary to assure and sustain future reliable and efficient access to space." The Government is committed to encouraging competition for NSS launch services in order to provide flexibility to maintain access to space and reduce program costs. The Air Force, NRO, and NASA have adopted a joint New Entrant Certification Strategy, dated 27 October 2011, which provides a methodology for certification of launch vehicles based on risk classifications for individual payloads. This framework provides multiple paths to on-ramp potential New Entrants. In addition, the 7 Nov 11 New Entrant Certification Guide details the certification requirements for New Entrants.

Each agency will establish and assign payload classification levels for its respective payloads. These payload classifications will define a hierarchy of risk combinations by considering such factors as mission criticality, payload complexity, magnitude of investment, and other relevant factors. On the launch services side, new-entrant launch vehicles will be assessed and certified in accordance with a launch vehicle certification requirements matrix, which assigns levels of risk in launch vehicle system (high, medium, or low) based on several relevant characteristics, including vehicle maturity and flight experience in EELV-class mission configurations.

Potential EELV-class NSS mission providers and other launch providers will have the opportunity to compete for pre-certification launches. Any New Entrant seeking certification will be evaluated based upon the requirements specified in the New Entrant Certification Guide.

The Air Force anticipates implementing full-and-open competition for the follow-on contract actions for FY18-FY22 and FY23-FY30, provided another vendor is certified for EELV-class NSS launches. The desired end state is ability to leverage alternative space launch provider(s) (New Entrants) in a competitive environment as soon as feasible while assuring the first priority of overall mission success.

XII. Contracting Officer's Certification

The Contracting Officer's signature on the Justification Review Document is evidence that she has determined this document to be both accurate and complete to the best of her knowledge and belief. (FAR 6.303-2(b))

XIII. Technical/Requirements Personnel's Certification

As evidenced by the signature on the Coordination and Approval Document/Justification Review Document, the Program Manager certified that any supporting data contained herein is both accurate and complete. The Program Manager for this effort is responsible for verifying the technical requirement for this effort.


483 North Aviation Blvd
El Segundo, California 90245-2808
9501 East Panorama Circle
Centennial , Colorado 80112
United States
Tracy E Stroud,
Contracting Officer
Phone: 310-653-1967
Kathleen Scholefield,
Contracting Officer
Phone: 310-653-3685