DARPA Launch Challenge

The teams will compete against the “Time Value of Launch,” a new metric of importance that incorporates cost, accuracy, and speed. 

The DARPA Launch Challenge looks to incentivize industry to deliver their launch systems with the capability to be both flexible and responsive – anticipating emerging DoD needs.



Our nation’s space architecture is built around a limited number of exquisite systems. Typical developments span up to 10 years to build, test, and launch spacecraft.

DARPA wants to demonstrate the ability to launch payloads to orbit on extremely short notice, with no prior knowledge of the payload, destination orbit or launch site, and do it not just once, but twice, in a matter of days.  The commercial industry has embraced advances in manufacturing, microtechnologies, and autonomous launch/range infrastructure, and DARPA seeks to leverage this expertise to transform space system development.


The launch environment of the future will more closely resemble airline operations — with frequent launches from myriad locations worldwide. DARPA seeks to accelerate capabilities that are unconstrained to allow for flexibility and resilience, rather than one-of-a-kind, fixed infrastructure.


Please address administrative questions to launchchallenge@darpa.mil, and refer to the DARPA Launch Challenge Competitors Day (DARPA-SN-18-42) in all correspondence.