Air Force Certifies SpaceX as Space Launch Provider

Falcon 9 Launch System introduces competition.

SpaceX

SpaceX

After a two year, $60 million certification effort, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) has become the second provider currently capable of launching space vehicles for the Air Force under the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. This allows the Hawthorne, California-based company to bid on national security space-launch missions using its Falcon 9 Launch System.

"SpaceX's emergence as a viable commercial launch provider provides the opportunity to compete launch services for the first time in almost a decade," said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. "Ultimately leveraging of the commercial space market drives down cost to the American taxpayer and improves our military's resiliency."

The first opportunity for SpaceX to prove its capabilities will be presented in June, when the Air Force will release a request for proposal for GPS III launch services. SpaceX will compete against United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

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