Commercial Spaceflight And The Dawning Age of NewSpace

SpaceX wins $82 million contract for 2018 Falcon 9 launch of GPS 3 satellite |

WASHINGTON — SpaceX has won an $82.7 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to launch a next-generation GPS satellite aboard its Falcon 9 rocket in May 2018, the first of nine launch contracts the Defense Department plans to put out for bid over the next three years.

The award announced April 27 by the Pentagon was all but certain to go to SpaceX since the only other qualified bidder, United Launch Alliance, sat out the competition saying, in part, it didn’t think it could win a cost shootout with SpaceX.

The contract also marks a significant first for Elon Musk’s rocket company, which DoD had previously only entrusted with small, experimental satellites. The deal is SpaceX’s first award under the Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Program, which since its inception has divided the launch of big-ticket national security satellites between the Atlas and Delta rockets.

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