Maiden SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket is erected to vertical launch position at Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida prior to successful launch on Feb. 6, 2018. Credit: Ken Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/kenkremer.com
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL – SpaceX has won a competitively bid military contract from the US Air Force for the launch of a classified US national security payload on the Falcon Heavy rocket, the Air Force announced.
The nature and orbit of the
SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell thanked the Air Force for the award.
“SpaceX is honored by the Air Force’s selection of Falcon Heavy to launch the competitively-awarded AFSPC-52 mission,” said SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell, in a statement provided to Space UpClose.
Interestingly SpaceX announced that the launch vehicle would be the Falcon Heavy instead of the Falcon 9.
Launch of SpaceX Falcon Heavy on debut test flight
from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Feb. 6, 2018
Credit: Ken Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/kenkremer.com
“On behalf of all of our employees, I want to thank the Air Force for certifying Falcon Heavy, awarding us this critically important mission, and for their trust and confidence in our company."
Shotwell also made of point of stating that SpaceX launch costs are lower than their competitors.
“SpaceX is pleased to continue offering the American taxpayer the most cost-effective, reliable launch services for vital national security space missions.”
The next Falcon Heavy launch is not expected until later this year, potentially November or December but the date has slipped frequently.
The payload is the Air Force STP-2 demonstration satellite.
The next SpaceX launch from Florida is scheduled for later this week when a reused Falcon 9 rocket will lift off on Friday, June 29, on the Dragon CRS-15 resupply mission for NASA to the International Space Station.
CRS-15 marks the 12th flight overall for SpaceX in 2018 and the 2nd ISS resupply mission for NASA in 2018.
Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK and more space and mission reports direct from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida and Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.
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