The US Air Force picks SpaceX for 2020 satellite launch

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket departs from the historic launch pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA, on 6 February 2018. REUTERS/Joe Skipper – HP1EE261LV0L4

Back in 2014, SpaceX decided to sue the US government after the military gave United Launch Alliance (ULA) a sweetheart deal to send the government payloads in the space. The reason was simple: a complete lack of competition for 36 launches. The end result was a settlement and SpaceX certification received for the start.

As CNN reports, SpaceX’s lawsuit was worth the effort, as the US Air Force just selected for the award SpaceX a contract for the launch of a military satellite in 2020. The only other bidder, ULA, had failed and was not commenting. This is true if SpaceX’s second military contract, but the first use of a Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful rocket.

The Air Force refers to it as an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) launch service contract. SpaceX has been awarded an “a$130 million firm-fixed-price contract for the launch services to provide Air Force Space Command (AFSPC)-52 satellite to the intended orbit.” It will see the company provide a total launch solution with the launch happens at a particular point in 2020 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The AFSPC-52 is part of a classified mission, so we have no idea what systems for the transport in orbit. However, it is controlled by the Air Force Space Command’s Space and Missile Systems Center, which specializes in, “Global Positioning System, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control networks, space based infrared systems, and space situational awareness capabilities.”

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