SpaceX Launches 20th Rocket with USAF GPS Satellite, Does Not Recover Booster

Pablo Tucker
December 26, 2018

Space X rocket carrying U.S. military took off from Cape Canaveral from Florida on Sunday making the first-ever transportation of the security space transportation of the United States successful. The launch had been rescheduled earlier in the week because of the weather. Very unlike SpaceX, the company did not attempt to recover the first stage booster after separation due to "mission requirements".

Elon Musk's SpaceX launched its first national security payload for the USA government (specifically the Air Force) on Sunday, delivering a roughly $711 million Global Positioning System satellite constructed by Lockheed Martin into orbit on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral at 8:51 a.m. ET, the Guardian reported.

Thus, Elon Musk made it the first ever mission of security for USA government.


This launch was planned in the year 2014 but again was delayed due to the production issues.

The satellite is the first of 10 built by Lockheed Martin and has major improvements including a redesigned Nuclear Detonation Detection System and a search-and-rescue payload. It dropped the lawsuit in 2015 after the Air Force agreed to open up competition.

The company stated that this very launch was the 21st as well as the final year of the launch. The company had sued the U.S. Air Force in 2014 over the military's award of a multibillion-dollar, non-compete contract for 36 rocket launches to United Launch Alliance, which is a partnership of Boeing and Lockheed.


The GPS III SV01 satellite has a lifespan of 15 years, and it's the first to launch out of 32 satellites that are being created by Lockheed for the Air Force GPS III Program, Chip Eschenfelder, a Lockheed spokesperson, told Reuters in an article.

The hardware sent to orbit by Elon Musk's space cargo hauling company is now one of 31 operational GPS satellites used by the Air Force to deliver info about positioning, navigation, and timing to both its own and allied forces operating around the world.


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