The search is no longer for satellites which can land in space, it is now for satellite who will land faster. The United States military has promised prize money for a satellite that can go to space on short notice. A prize of $10 million is at stake.
The competitors are expected to launch two mini-satellites in space just a few days after the competition starts. The competitors would have a shorter period to prepare for the competition since they would be informed about their first launch site a few weeks to their flight.
The winner of the competition would be chosen on how well they process and prepare for their flights despite the short notice.
The competing companies are scheduled to meet the US government officials on May 23 in Los Angeles. US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency will fund each competing company with $30 million before the competition.
Some top-notch space companies have been billed to compete. These include Vector, Virgin Orbit, and Astra Space. Although the $30 million would not be sufficient to cover the expenditure of the competing firms, there seem to be other incentives.
The US military seems to be keen on launching into space more now and competing companies may land those contracts after the competition.
The CEO of Rocket lab, Peter Beck, a company that is likely to compete said that this competition would be a tough one. He mentioned that his company has not decided to compete, their decision would be based on the outcome of their analysis of the rules.
The CEO of Relativity Space, Tim Ellis, another space firm that might compete if there can get a rocket ready before the competition starts also said that initiative by the government is an excellent incentive to the space startup companies.
He also mentioned that this would help increase the number of space flights in a year. In making a comparison at the vast differences between the rate of air flights and space flights.
This competition was also motivated by the quest of the US military to plant more tools in space. These tools, they intend to provide more privacy regarding communication and also to collect information on external attacks.
The military believes that this competition will provide a more efficient way to transport their satellites into space.