Lt. Gen. David Thompson, vice chief of U.S. Air Force Space Command, told reporters after a Capitol Hill event that the service branch relies on industry to support the military's rocket launch needs, Space News reported Saturday. The service branch is confident the U.S. space industry will provide rockets for missions to lift military and intelligence satellites, he said.
USAF officials attribute the outcomes of an industry-reliant approach to market forces, following the branch's decision to completely rely on the private sector for launch services, the report noted. United Launch Alliance and SpaceX are the only firms whose rockets hold authorization to launch national security payloads, while Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman are working to comply with corresponding requirements.
USAF is looking to certify more U.S.-made commercial rockets within the next two to three years, the report noted.