India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C30) lifts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, South India, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. PSLV-C30 mission included the launching of India's space observatory satellite. ASTROSAT.

The Pentagon is awarding a $10 million prize to companies that can quick-launch satellites

$10 million

Inspired by NASA’s partnerships with companies like SpaceX, the Department of Defense is turning to the private sector for a contest meant to put small satellites in space.

Published   |  Photo by AP Photo/Arun Sankar
India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C30) lifts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, South India, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. PSLV-C30 mission included the launching of India's space observatory satellite. ASTROSAT.
$10 million

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency will give the prize to any company that can launch two small satellites into orbit in a matter of days.

India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C30) lifts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, South India, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. PSLV-C30 mission included the launching of India's space observatory satellite. ASTROSAT.
$10 million

Satellites are crucial for spying on adversaries and speeding communication, but the difficulty lies in putting them into orbit in an efficient, timely, and cost-effective way.

India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C30) lifts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, South India, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. PSLV-C30 mission included the launching of India's space observatory satellite. ASTROSAT.
$10 million

Competitors won’t know the launch site until weeks before the contest—and will only learn the payload details and the satellites’ orbital destinations a few days in advance.

India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C30) lifts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, South India, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. PSLV-C30 mission included the launching of India's space observatory satellite. ASTROSAT.
$10 million

After their first launch, competitors will have just a couple of days to go to another site and launch again.

India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C30) lifts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, South India, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. PSLV-C30 mission included the launching of India's space observatory satellite. ASTROSAT.
$10 million

Firms will start meeting with DARPA late next month to kick off the application process. Time is of the essence, as Russia and China are developing anti-satellite weapons at a rapid pace.

India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C30) lifts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, South India, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. PSLV-C30 mission included the launching of India's space observatory satellite. ASTROSAT.
$10 million

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson described the current constellation of US satellites as “exquisite glass houses” built “in a world without stones.”

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