For years, Elon Musk has been arguing for his private space company SpaceX to be treated in the same manner as Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The two giants effectively had a monopoly on military launches but that has finally been broken as the United States Air Force has reportedly given SpaceX its first military launch contract. Reuters reports that this $83 million contract will see SpaceX launch the next GPS satellite into orbit.
Previously, the United Launch Alliance made up of Lockheed Martin and Boeing were the only companies that were given military launch contracts, so the fact that SpaceX has been handed a contract goes to show that the powers that be are finally convinced that SpaceX is capable of handling something like this as well.
SpaceX is going to launch the next GPS satellite under contract with the United States Air Force in May 2018. The launch will be conducted from Florida and a Falcon 9 rocket will be used for it.
The report mentions that even though this is SpaceX’s first military launch it’s possible that the company might play a bigger role in this space. It suggests that the United Launch Alliance might not be able to compete with SpaceX as it offers cheaper launches which will obviously be more appealing to taxpayer-funded bodies.
SpaceX is working hard to cement its position as a leader in space exploration as well. Just yesterday the company announced that it wants to send a spacecraft to Mars by 2018.