The U.S. Air Force‘s budget request for fiscal year 2019 includes $192.5 million to fund a “small launch” services program over a five-year period, SpaceNews reported Thursday.
The budget line will be used to procure commercial launch services and will include $47.6 million for 2019, $11.5 million for 2020, $57.9 million for 2021, $12.1 million for 2022 and $63.4 million for 2023.
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said the service branch aims to have “a variety of launch capabilities in order to have assured access to space.”
Budget documents state that the small launch program will cover spacelift and rideshare services for developmental, demonstration and small operational spacecraft.
The new program will fund the deployment of payloads weighing less than 8,000 pounds.
The Air Force said the small launch project complements the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program, which supports the launch of large satellites.