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SpaceX has received U.S. military approval to launch reusable Falcon boosters

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The United States has revised its military contract with SpaceX to allow future launches of reusable Falcon 9 boosters, saving the U.S. tens of thousands of dollars.

The GPS III satellites, built by Lockheed Martin, were launched by the U.S. Space Agency’s Space and Missile Systems Center on new boosters traditionally launched. The first two GPS III spacecraft were launched on the Falcon 9 and the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket.

The United States Air Force GPS III SV01 satellite will be launched into orbit on December 23, 2018 by the SpaceX Falcon 9B1054 Booster, a spacecraft that can be spent on the first single mission. (SpaceX)

An earlier contract was amended to allow Falcon 9 boosters to launch GPS III missions to attempt landing. In June, the Falcon 9 launched its third GPS vehicle from the Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. This is the first time a booster carrying a GPS III vehicle has been found.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 Booster B1060 is pictured on its way back to Port Canaveral after a successful recovery in June 2020. (Richard Angle)

“I am proud of our partnership with SpaceX, which has allowed us to successfully negotiate contract reforms for the upcoming GPS III missions, which will save taxpayers $ 52.7 million and maintain our unprecedented success record,” he said. Walt Lauderdale, Center for Space and Missile Systems Falcon Systems, Head of Operations Division, said in a statement issued by the U.S. Space Force Space and Missile System Center.

Gwynn Shotwell, President and Chief Operating Officer, SpaceX, commented: “We appreciate the efforts made by the U.S. Space Force to evaluate and are pleased to see the advances in technology. Our extensive experience with recycling has allowed us to constantly upgrade SpaceX and save valuable tax dollars on these launches. ”

The latest update to the GPS III launch services agreement allows Falcon 9 boosters not only to be redeemed, but also to be launched on previously flown boosters. However, this amendment will only apply to future launches of the GPS III SV05 and SV06 satellites.

Payload Fairing with GPS III SV03 joins SpaceX Falcon 9 in June 2020. (SpaceX)

Plans to launch a series of GPS III satellites on the reused Falcon 9S were originally intended to begin in 2021 in the second phase of the launch service agreement. The current contract with the US Space Agency will end with the launch of the GPS III SV06 satellite. 2021. Contracts for the remaining four GPS III satellites of Phase 2 of the National Security Space Launch Program have not yet been awarded and will be auctioned off by SpaceX and the UAE.

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Upcoming The launch of the GPS III SV04 satellite is currently scheduled for Tuesday, September 29th A new Falcon 9 booster (B1062) from SLC-40 will be used. On the morning of Friday, September 25, the new Falcon 9 conducted a healthy static fire test of its nine Merlin 1D engines. That evening, a Twitter user captured the encapsulated payload GoalieBear88 During the transfer from the nearby processing plant to the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to mate with the Falcon 9 booster.

The GPS III SV404 mission will be launched on Tuesday, September 29 (0155-0210 UTC September 30) at 9: 55-10: 10 pm EDT, in a window that extends nominally until the intended launch date. The 45th Weather Squadron predicts that the weather will be mostly favorable with a 70% chance of acceptable conditions at launch. If a 24-hour recycle is required, the weather drops to 80%.

Check out Tesla Rati’s newsletter For prompt updates, on-the-pers perspectives, and exclusive footage of SpaceX’s rocket launch and recovery process.

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