Falcon 9 Upgrade gets Air Force OK to launch military satellites | SpaceNews.com
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Air Force has certified the latest version of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, known as the Falcon 9 Upgrade, to launch national security satellites, the Air Force said Jan. 25.
The Falcon 9 Upgrade, which made its maiden launch in December, includes increased thrust, an improved stage separation system and a stretched upper stage that can hold additional propellant.
The new certification allows SpaceX to use its most up-to-date rocket to bid to launch military and spy satellites. The Air Force is expected to put roughly four launch contracts up for bid later this year. United Launch Alliance, which uses the Atlas 5 and Delta 4 rockets, is the only other provider certified to launch so-called EELV-class national security satellites.
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