SpEC: The Final Frontier of Contracting for Space Force

April 25, 2024

Navigating the bureaucratic maze of FAR-based contracting can be exhausting. Imagine a world where Government offices could streamline their procurement processes, cut through red tape, and achieve their goals with ease. 

The Space Enterprise Consortium, or SpEC, is an Other Transaction Authority (OTA) vehicle created in 2017 to bridge the cultural gap between military buyers and commercial space startups and small businesses. As Space Force’s only OTA contracting vehicle, SpEC is able to address the many challenges facing space defense contracting offices today. 

Your Challenge

FAR-based contracts were once a sensible option for Government contracting offices, but they can no longer meet the demands of modern defense efforts. With the associated multi-year process, by the time a solution is on contract, the U.S. has fallen behind our competitor’s capabilities. This ends up costing more for Government offices. In addition, proposal solutions under the FAR are limited, and the Government lacks access to small, Non-traditional organizations and Universities, who often hold the key to the best solutions. 

Go Further with SpEC

OTAs are non-traditional government contracting methods designed to help fast-track research initiatives and prototype innovation. They offer a revolutionary solution that transcends the limitations of traditional FAR-based contracting. Because of the OTA’s unique flexibility, Government offices can achieve greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness. 

The SpEC OTA accomplishes just that, breaking down barriers to entry for small businesses and non-traditional vendors and fostering a more diverse and dynamic marketplace. By promoting integrated research and prototyping efficiencies, SpEC empowers the SSC to achieve its objectives with greater agility and innovation. And speed is not sacrificed for quality – from RPP release to award, SpEC boasts an accelerated turnaround time of as little as 85 days. 

Through SpEC you can: 

  • Save 12% of your funding. Average awards through SpEC are 12% less than the USG estimate​. 
  • Minimize barriers to entry for small businesses and Non-traditional vendors. 
  • Promote integrated research and prototyping efficiencies. 
  • Do it fast: move from RPP release to award in as little as 85 days​. 
  • Receive higher quality proposals through enhanced competition. On average, SpEC receives 12 proposals per submission. 

SpEC Successes

Since 2021, over 22 projects, amounting to over $2B in funding, have been awarded through SpEC. A few high-impact projects include: 

Forge C2 

The Future Operationally Resilient Ground Evolution Command and Control (FORGE C2) prototype project, awarded in 2023, is Phase 1 of a multi-phase project that will ultimately develop, integrate, and deliver a consolidated Missile Warning C2 system. Three out of four awarded prime performers are Non-traditional organizations. 

Missile Track Custody 

The Missile Track Custody program, an ongoing initiative aimed at enhancing the nation’s missile defense capabilities from medium earth orbit (MEO), was initially awarded to Millennium Space Systems and Raytheon in May 2021. Thanks to the flexible OTA structure, the DoD was able to add a third performer post-award to support mission payload design: L3Harris joined the MTC effort in 2023.  


Awarded to Northrop Grumman Corporation, the request for prototype was released as a part of the larger Deep Space Advanced Radar Capability (DARC) program created to enhance our nation’s capabilities in Space Domain Awareness (SDA). The solutions created through DARC will be vital in creating a resilient space enterprise. This prototype solution will provide an operational leave-behind capability by 2025. 

Click here to see a SpEC member testimonial. 

Revolutionizing Space Defense Contracting

The SpEC OTA is managed by the National Security Technology Accelerator (NSTXL). NSTXL is the consortium manager for some of the nation’s leading OTA vehicles, we work hand in hand with our customers to solve national security challenges.  

A key differentiator of our process is the incorporation of commercial best practices that give programs more flexibility to rapidly scale programs to meet growing needs. Through every effort, we ensure the highest impact and return for our customers and members. 

The NSTXL team is dedicated to supporting the Space Force mission of securing our Nation’s interest in, from, and to space. Responding to mission-critical needs quickly and accurately is how we get there. Here at NSTXL, we are revolutionizing the way Government contracting is done. Learn more about how you can innovate by partnering with NSTXL. 


NSTXL is focused on building a network of innovators and creators across the most sought-after emerging technology fields. As an open-source platform, our approach was designed to encourage network growth and collaboration without stifling change. NSTXL supports their network by providing commercial-term contracting, open-source technology discovery, modern-day marketing outreach, a strongly interconnected network for easy teaming, and cybersecurity compliance support.

About SpEC

The Space Enterprise Consortium (SpEC) was created in 2017 to bridge the cultural gap between military buyers and commercial space startups and small businesses through Other Transaction Authorities (OTA).  The OTA innovative contracting process allows SpEC to solicit bids from a mix of member companies including companies that have not previously done work with the Department of Defense.  SSC recently awarded management of the SpEC OTA to NSTXL to expedite the contracting between government and industry.  NSTXL is focused on building a network of innovators and creators across the most sought-after emerging technology fields.

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