Accession Number:



National Security Space Launch

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Congressional Report]

Corporate Author:

Congressional Research Service

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



The National Security Space Launch NSSL is a U.S. government program that acquires launch services, aimed at ensuring continued access to space for critical national security missions. The U.S. Air Force oversaw NSSLs predecessor program, the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle EELV, and awarded four companies contracts to design a cost-effective launch vehicle system. The Department of Defense DOD acquisition strategy was to select one company to ensure national security space NSS launches were affordable and reliable. The EELV effort was prompted by significant increases in launch costs, procurement concerns, and the lack of competition among U.S. companies. Today, the NSSL programs main priority is mission success. A RAND study released April 2020 identified a magnitude of risk associated with assured access to space. As Congress continues its oversight of NSSL, it may consider examining DODs plan on the prioritization of the launch-related risks to ensure continued access to space and 100 mission success.


Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Administration and Management

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]