SpaceX Certified by US Air Force for National Security Missions

The U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) certificated SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch system for national security space missions, such as launching military satellites.

The successful conclusion of the two-year-long certification process means the private space transport company is now eligible to bid on national security missions against  United Launch Alliance (ULA) and its Atlas 5.

“This is an important step toward bringing competition to National Security Space launch,” SpaceX CEO  and founder Elon Musk said in a prepared statement. “We thank the Air Force for its confidence in us and look forward to serving it well.”

SpaceX can begin competing for projects in June when the Air Force is expected to open up  launch service proposals for its next-generation GPS 3 satellites.

According to the U.S. Air Force, it invested more than $60 million and 150 people over the two-year certification process. The launch system endured 125 certification criteria, involving “more than 2,800 discrete tasks, 3 certification flight demonstrations, verifying 160 payload interface requirements, 21 major subsystem reviews and 700 audits.”

“This is a very important milestone for the Air Force and the Department of Defense,” said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. “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.”

“The SpaceX and SMC teams have worked hard to achieve certification,” said Greaves. “And we’re also maintaining our spaceflight worthiness process supporting the National Security Space missions. Our intent is to promote the viability of multiple EELV-class launch providers as soon as feasible.”

Image Credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Yvonne Morales



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Article source: http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/05/28/spacex-certified-by-us-air-force-for-national-security-missions

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Posted by on May 28 2015. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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