Space Force seeks commercial satellites to carry tech for on-orbit experiments | Space

The Space Force’s acquisition arm is looking for commercially developed space vehicles that can host experimental payloads and allow the Defense Department to conduct tests of emerging technologies on orbit. 

According to a request for proposal published on on Thursday, Space Systems Command plans to establish a contract vehicle for its Space Test Experiments Platform (STEP) 2.0 effort. Over the next decade, the service plans to award multiple awards to vendors able to provide platforms for the Space Force’s science-and-technology experiments.

“The DoD Space Test Program is looking to leverage all the successes from industry to provide proven spacecraft to host the DoD’s next generation of space technologies,” Lt. Col. Brian Shimek, director of the service’s Space Test Program (STP), said in a statement. 

Originally founded in the 1960s, the Space Test Program supports the entire Defense Department and other government agencies by conducting end-to-end demonstrations of novel space technologies. Now managed by Space Systems Command, the STP has executed over 300 missions to advance new capabilities, according to the Space Force.

STEP 2.0 will fill an existing gap in the program’s ability to procure and launch S&T payloads, according to the Space Force. The service especially hopes to use proven space vehicles developed by the…


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