The Space Force has approved that SpaceX, through Falcon Heavy rockets equipped with reusable boosters, launch spy satellites. The news was reported by Bloomberg. It is therefore to be expected that SpaceX will now manage the most important, priority satellite missions, but also the most publicized missions of the American government.
SpaceX’s certification was issued in June. It is only the disclosure of the news that has only been made now. The first launch aboard the Falcon Heavy is scheduled between October and December. It will be done when Elon Musk’s famous company delivers a National Reconnaissance Office satellite.
Why did the Space Force issue this clearance?
This will save the government money because the costs of transporting these satellites into orbit will be reduced. Separately, Space Systems Command Falcon chief Walter Lauderdale said the Space Force has already saved more than $64 million for GPS missions that used the reusable Falcon 9 rockets.
SpaceX has previously carried spy satellites on behalf of the US government using Falcon 9 rockets. However, the latter lack the power for heavier payloads. This changes with the Falcon Heavy rockets. This is not surprising considering that during its launch in 2018, the rocket was called the most powerful operational rocket in the world.
A threat to rival rocket companies
According to Engadget, “ it could be a blow, albeit temporary, to rival rocket producers “. Indeed, the rocket market is full of sizeable competitors, it is not only SpaceX which has the necessary capabilities to create products in this field. For example, Boeing and Lockheed Martin United have sought similar approval for a version of its Vulcan rocket using Blue Origin engines. She hasn’t received it yet.
At this time, Air Force officials are still considering what to do about the 39 national security launches planned for fiscal year 2025 to 2027. And there’s no guarantee that the honor will go to SpaceX. But the certification that has just been disclosed may influence the decisions of these officials.