SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch system has been scrutinized by the US Air Force and is now fully certified for future missions, breaking the monopoly currently held by the United Launch Alliance. SpaceX will now be allowed to compete for launch contracts for military and reconnaissance satellites.
“This is a very important milestone for the Air Force and the Department of Defense,” Deborah Lee James told Ars Technica. “SpaceX’s emergence as a viable commercial launch provider provides the opportunity to compete launch services for the first time in almost a decade. Ultimately, leveraging of the commercial space market drives down cost to the American taxpayer and improves our military’s resiliency.”
It was not overly healthy to have the US Air Force completely beholden to a single entity for its rocketry requirements: It’s not good for resiliency, and it’s not good for the purse strings either. SpaceX previously claimed that ULA launches were costing the US government $460 million per launch and that it could instead offer launches for around $100 million. ULA contested that figure, saying the current launch price is actually $225 million, with a plan to bring that price down to around $100 million as well. No matter what the real figures are, it is very clear to us that Falcon 9’s fresh certification will increase competition and drive down prices.
Elon Mush and SpaceX spent two years and more that 60 million dollars to get the certification, the company will now compete to be able to send roughly one-third of the military rockets and satellites into space. Apparently they won’t be able to launch the largest satellites until the bigger Falcon Heavy is built and certified.
Thank you to Ars Technica for providing us with this information
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