Space Force OKs used SpaceX rockets for upcoming GPS satellite launches

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches the GPS III-SV03 mission for the U.S. Area Drive on June 30, 2020.

(Picture: © SpaceX)

SpaceX can now launch national-security satellites with used rockets.

Elon Musk’s firm simply signed a contract modification with the U.S. Area Drive that permits two upcoming GPS satellite tv for pc launches to make use of Falcon 9 boosters with preflown first phases. That is a primary for national-security payloads, and it’ll end in financial savings of practically $53 million for American taxpayers throughout the 2 flights, Area Drive officers stated.

“SpaceX is proud to leverage Falcon 9’s flight-proven advantages and capabilities for nationwide safety area launch missions,” SpaceX president and chief working officer Gwynne Shotwell stated in an announcement emailed out by the Area Drive at present (Sept. 25).

“We respect the hassle that the U.S. Area Drive invested into the analysis and are happy that they see the advantages of the expertise,” Shotwell stated. “Our in depth expertise with reuse has allowed SpaceX to repeatedly improve the fleet and save vital valuable tax {dollars} on these launches.”

Associated: See the evolution of SpaceX’s rockets in photos

SpaceX routinely lands and reflies the primary phases of the workhorse, two-stage Falcon 9. The highly effective Falcon Heavy, which has launched simply 3 times up to now, is equally reusable. (Falcon Heavy is actually three Falcon 9 first phases strapped collectively, with a modified central booster topped by a second stage.)

Right this moment’s announcement marks one other step within the Area Drive’s rising acceptance of reusable-rocket expertise. The army department’s Area and Missile Methods Heart (SMC) beforehand signed contract modifications permitting SpaceX to land Falcon 9 first phases throughout GPS launches. 

The corporate did simply that on the GPS III-SV03 mission this previous June, and it plans to take action once more for GPS III-SV04, which is scheduled to carry off subsequent Tuesday (Sept. 29).

The brand new contract modifications permit the GPS III-SV05 and GPS III-SV06 satellites to experience atop Falcon 9s with preflown first phases, which is able to land again on Earth after their work within the upward route is finished. These two launches are scheduled to happen someday subsequent 12 months.

“SMC’s dedication to revolutionary partnerships and dealing with the industrial sector whereas sustaining our mission assurance posture and mission-success document can’t be understated,” Walt Lauderdale, head of SMC’s Falcon Methods and Operations Division and frequent mission director, stated in the identical assertion. 

“I’m pleased with our partnership with SpaceX that allowed us to efficiently negotiate contract modifications for the upcoming GPS III missions that can save taxpayers $52.7 million whereas sustaining our unprecedented document of success,” Lauderdale stated.

Mike Wall is the writer of “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a e book concerning the seek for alien life. Observe him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Observe us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Fb. 

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