With this move, despite all odds, Musk has broken new grounds for SpaceX.
With Elon Musk’s long standing efforts to be in the same footing as Lockheed Martin and Boeing vis-à-vis the U.S. military, his sheer persistence seems to have finally borne fruit: SpaceX has finally managed to snag a contract from the U.S. Air Force worth $83 million to launch the next GPS satellite into orbit.
It is a significant breakthrough for SpaceX since until now only Boeing and Lockheed Martin had been permitted to launch satellites for the Pentagon.
The launch will be powered by a Falcon 9 rocket which is scheduled to take off sometime in May 2018 from Florida. If the launch is successful, Musk would not only win this battle but also be on the way to winning the war.
The launch will take place in May 2018 from Florida atop a Falcon 9 rocket, although while Musk has won the battle, he might also be well on the way to winning the war.
In 2014, the United Launch Alliance had been awarded a contract for launching 26 rockets. At that time, Musk believed if the contract had been awarded to SpaceX, the Air Force could have in fact saved some money. He was peeved that SpaceX wasn’t even allowed in the bidding process.
Following this, Musk tried to block the contract through a lawsuit which alleged that the contract was somewhat fishy since the officials who were in charge of awarding the contract were subsequently provided with a cushy job at the ULA. Thereafter, it dawned upon the Pentagon that indeed there might be some truth behind Musk’s noise, and it agreed to improve “the competitive landscape” for “national security space launches.”
With SpaceX demonstrating that its Falcon 9 rockets can land on a platform with precision after being shot into space, SpaceX got the visibility that it was looking for. Its reusable rockets are likely to significantly reduce the launch cost dramatically, making journeys into the heavens that much cheaper.
Furthermore, Musk has now pledged that SpaceX capsules will land on Mars by 2018. Although it is a rather ambitious goal, however it is one of the few companies which uniquely equipped to meet it.