Military Embedded Systems

Sea-based space launch infrastructure agreement signed with DIU


May 28, 2024

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Image courtesy The Spaceport Company

WASHINGTON. Launch-infrastructure company The Spaceport Company (TSC) won a contract with the U.S. Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to deliver cargo and enable greater access to space by leveraging a unique type of sea-based mobile space launch complex. 

The TSC prototype, according to the company's announcement, is aimed at demonstrating delivery to a mission-designed orbit and test autonomy-like features of the sea launch vessel.

In Phase 1 of the Novel Responsive Space Delivery (NRSD) project, TSC is tasked with building and demonstrating foundational maritime launch technologies within the next 12 months.

Depending on the outcome of the first phase, DIU may award future modular phases to TSC; the phased approach is intended to work with a company as it builds a self-contained, ocean-going space launch complex and ensures that the complex can quickly deliver satellites to orbit from wide portions of the ocean on a regular, commercial basis.  

Tom Marotta, CEO of The Spaceport Company, said of the accord: "Demand for launch sites exceeds supply, and building new launch sites on land is blocked by environmental concerns and community opposition. Furthermore, commercial launch companies seek a future with fleets of rockets delivering tons of cargo to and from orbit on an hourly basis. The only viable way to build enough launch site infrastructure to support such a vision is to build it on ships at sea. We are specialists in this area, having successfully launched four sounding rockets in one day from a commercial vessel. I'm excited to deepen our partnership with the DoD to realize our shared vision of cost-effective, scalable, and reliable launch site access for both U.S. and allied partners."

Featured Companies

U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)

1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1400