Science

Elon Musk’s $130m military contract revealed

Elon Musk’s $130m military contract revealed”

This means Elon Musk's private space company will be responsible for the launch of the Air Force Space Command-52 satellite into its intended orbit. The contract was awarded as a firm-fixed-price deal for $130 million.

Competitors SpaceX at auction was United Launch Alliance (a joint company of the pillars of American "defense" Boeing and Lockheed Martin) Delta 4 rocket, however, the cost to run them - $350 million - was uncompetitive.

All work with regard to the contract will be conducted in Hawthorne, California, the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and McGregor in Texas.

Still, SpaceX's triple-booster Falcon Heavy launch contract will cost the USAF a slim $130m. The rocket comprises three Falcon 9 rocket cores, and is capable of more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff.

"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", Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX president and chief operating officer and a 2018 Wash100 recipient, said in a statement.

Previously, ULA was awarded three Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle, or EELV contracts, where a heavy-lift rocket was required, before Falcon Heavy was U.S. Air Force certified.

Falcon 9 or Falcon Heavy?

It will be the first military national security space payload on the Falcon Heavy craft.

The Air Force Command 52 mission is expected to be complete in September 2020, according to the contract announcement.

This is not the first time SpaceX has won a US military launch project. The test program is supposed to be an experimental launch where the Falcon Heavy will carry as many as 25 satellites.

If the SpaceX military mission is successful, the Falcon Heavy "could displace ULA's Delta IV simply on cost grounds", the media outlet reports, citing industry sources. The much-touted rocket made its maiden launch from the historic launchpad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on February 6, 2018.

'The Falcon Heavy launch turned heads in February, but SpaceX's rocket is a smaller type of rocket that can't meet Nasa's deep-space needs, ' the website reads.



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