Science

Elon Musk's SpaceX Conducts first Mission for US Military

Elon Musk's SpaceX Conducts first Mission for US Military

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, scheduled to launch a U.S. Air Force navigation satellite, sits on Launch Complex 40 after the launch was postponed.

Vespucci's nickname honors Italian cartographer and explorer Amerigo Vespucci, after whom North and South America were named.

The Falcon 9 rocket carrying a military navigation satellite, constructed by Lockheed Martin Corporation, was launched Sunday from Florida's Cape Canaveral. This victory is even more special for SpaceX considering that it had dragged the U.S. Air Force to court in 2014, after it awarded the multibillion-dollar contract of 36 rocket launches to United Launch Alliance - a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed.

"In the coming days, GPS III SV01 will use its liquid apogee engines to climb into its operational orbit about 12,550 miles above the earth".

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GPS III SV01 will also have some company next year. Instead of just following the traditional one-and-done model of rocket launches, SpaceX launches and then re-launches its rockets to make spaceflight cheaper for all. The company stated that this very launch was the 21st as well as the final year of the launch.

This morning's launch was originally scheduled to occur on Tuesday (Dec. 18), but SpaceX called off that attempt after receiving an "out of family" reading from sensors on the Falcon 9's first stage. GPS III SV03-08 are now in various stages of assembly and test.

In September, the Air Force selected Lockheed Martin for the GPS III Follow On (GPS IIIF) program, an estimated $7.2 billion opportunity to build up to 22 additional GPS IIIF satellites with additional capabilities. It is but one of 32 planned GPS III satellites that will replace older ones now in orbit.

The $529 million Global Positioning System 3 satellite is the first of 10 being built by Lockheed Martin. The vice president was in Florida to announce that President Donald Trump had ordered the, a unified combatant command to provide control of all military space operations.