SpaceX Used Rockets to Launch National-Security Satellites

SpaceX's Falcon 9 booster
Photo : Juan Kulichevsky from Argentina

SpaceX's Falcon 9 Boosters can now launch GPS satellites for Space Force. This follows a contract modification between U.S. Space Force and SpaceX. SpaceX's Falcon 9 boosters will launch with reflown first stages. This is the first national security mission for SpaceX's Falcon 9 boosters. They've never launched national-security payloads.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 Boosters will save $53 million in the two flights. That's a lot of money for American taxpayers. The national security launch mission is critical. It will leverage the capabilities and benefits of the Falcon 9's. SpaceX's Falcon 9 boosters are flight-proven. This creates a huge opportunity for Space Force.

SpaceX has extensive experience with reuse. The company has upgraded its technology with time. The Falcon 9 fleet will save taxpayers money. Space Force evaluated the technology and are pleased to move forward. SpaceX's Falcon 9 boosters have a lot to offer.

SpaceX Falcon 9 two-stage-to-orbit 

SpaceX's Falcon 9 booster is a two-stage-to-orbit launch vehicle. The medium-lift rocket is reusable and powered by Merlin engines. It burns rocket-grade kerosene and cryogenic liquid oxygen. The vehicle has evolved in three stages, the v1.0, v1.1, and v1.2. The v1.2 "Full Thrust" Block 5 Full Thrust variant is partially re-usable. The first stage re-enters the atmosphere and lands vertically. This happens after separation from the second stage.

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SpaceX's Falcon 9 booster can carry payloads weighing 22,800 Kg to low orbit. It can lift payloads weighing 8,300 kg to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). The Intelsat 35e was the heaviest GTO payload. It weighed 6,761 kg. The Telstar 19V weighed 7,075 kg. However, the second was launched into low-energy GTO.  

Falcon heavy is another reusable rocket. It consists of strengthened Falcon 9 first stage and two strap-on boosters. The Falcon 9 has the highest payload capacity. It's the third most powerful rocket to reach orbit. It's second after Saturn V and Energia. Falcon heavy is certified for the National Security Space Launch program. SpaceX has successfully landed and reflown Falcon 9 first stage. The two stages Falcon 9 and the Falcon heavy are both reusable. Falcon Heavy consists of three Falcon 9 first stages and a central booster. 

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This announcement marks a big leap for SpaceX and Space Force. It also shows the Space Force's acceptance of reusable rockets. The contract modifications were signed by Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC). This contract will allow SpaceX to land Falcon 9 first stages. This will take place during GPS launches. SpaceX did the same during the GPS III-SV03 mission this past June. The company will do the same for GPS III-SV04. The upcoming launch of the GPS III-SV04 is scheduled for Sep 29th.

SpaceX Falcon 9 boosters will lift-off GPS III-SV05 and GPS III-SV06 satellites. The preflown first stages will then land back on Earth. The launches are scheduled for next year. Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) is committed to innovative partnerships. This is evident in the recent partnership with SpaceX. SMC intends to maintain mission assurance and success. This calls for beneficial partnerships. That's the case with SpaceX. Furthermore, the Space Force will save taxpayers money in the process.

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