SpaceX lands $130-million Falcon Heavy deal for US Air Force

SpaceX lands $130-million Falcon Heavy deal for US Air Force

SpaceX lands $130-million Falcon Heavy deal for US Air Force

SpaceX had to demonstrate the capabilities of its Falcon 9 rocket several times before the Air Force certified that launch vehicle, but military officials apparently acquired enough data from the Falcon Heavy's single launch and the Falcon 9's track record to give their go-ahead for AFSPC-52.

Not much is known about this particular mission, except that it is referred to as AFSPC-52 and it involves launching a classified military satellite from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center sometime around September 2020. To this enterprise the private company of the businessman Elon musk will receive from the military $130 million. The end result was a settlement and SpaceX receiving certification for launches.

The US Air Force decision signals confidence in the engineering behind the new rocket, which consists of three modified Falcon 9 cores strapped together and flew for the first time in February 2018 after seven years of development and testing.

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It's the first national security contract won for SpaceX's heavy-lift rocket, which had its first test flight in February.

'SpaceX is pleased to continue offering the American taxpayer the most cost-effective, reliable launch services for vital national security space missions'. The mission is planned to be launched from Kennedy Space Center.

By January of 2015, Musk had settled his dispute with the Air Force, and later that year the Falcon rocket was certified to compete with ULA rockets for government contracts.

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The Air Force release did not provide a breakdown of the contract. Sources in the industry have told Quartz that if SpaceX's Falcon Heavy is successful, it could replace the Delta IV on cost grounds, alone.

On its website, Space X lists four future Falcon Heavy missions.

Falcon 9 Block 5 completed its first launch on May 11, carrying the Bangabandhu-1 communications satellite to geostationary transfer orbit.

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