NSTXL’s deal to oversee on-hold Space Force technology programs pending evaluation

The recent NSTXL selection to handle space technology ventures for the United States Space Force is being reevaluated following reports that a Texas judge determined the company behaved unlawfully in a disagreement with a business associate. The Washington Post first reported the Nov. 24 decision against NSTXL by a judge in Harris County, Texas, on December 30. The Arlington, Virginia-based NSTXL is short for the National Security Technology Accelerator. On December 31, the Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles decided to formally assign a contract to run the Space Enterprise Consortium to NSTXL. That is on hold, however, said Capt.

Kaitlin Toner, a spokeswoman for the Center for Space and Missile Systems. “To better investigate this litigation, SMC (Space and Missile Systems) intends to withhold the award,” Toner stated in response to SpaceNews. Toner added SMC contracting officers would carry out an analysis, and it’s not sure how long it’ll take. “The Space Enterprise Consortium is a leading instrument in the space defense arena for industry engagement as well as rapid prototype production, so we are focused on doing our thorough research in thoroughly evaluating this matter,” she continued.

Earlier this month, SMC announced that NSTXL, a non-profit organization that links commercial companies with government buyers, was chosen to operate the Space Enterprise Consortium, recognized as SpEC. This consortium grant contracts to companies that operate quicker than conventional government contracts to produce technology prototypes under arrangements identified as the Other Transaction Authority (OTAs). Charleston, an Advanced Technology International Company which is based in South Carolina, is the new SpEC manager. A five-year deal was awarded to the company in 2017 to oversee projects worth up to $100 million.

Due to the increasing demand for prototyping of space technologies, Space and Missile Systems Center has agreed to increase SpEC’s approved financing to development projects worth $12 billion within the next ten years. In March, a request for proposals for the consortium contractual agreement was released, and in November, the evaluation plan was completed. The existing SpEC agreement with ATI “has hit its overall ceiling value and could no longer be used to approve new prototype works,” Toner added, so it would have to be re-competed. The contracts already approved will continue to be operated by ATI.

The United States Air Force developed the SpEC to encourage start-ups and private space firms to compete for military programs. At present, the consortium comprises 457 participants, many of whom are start-ups, small companies as well as academic institutions. In the lawsuit against business associate TechConnect, NSTXL stated it is appealing the judge’s decision. In a December 30 release, NSTLX noted that the Washington Post report “illustrated an ongoing civil issue about a legal battle with a previous event and conference contractor that was terminated almost 3 years ago and it has no connection whatsoever with our continuing work with Department of Defense.”

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