SpaceX is readying for the launch of a classified spacecraft aboard Falcon 9 into orbit for the National Reconnaissance Office, curtailing the United Launch Alliance's monopoly on U.S.military launches.
Kennedy Space Center
Liftoff for Falcon 9 is scheduled to occur at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida between 7 and 9 a.m.EDT (1100 to 1300 GMT).This will be the fifth of over 20 Falcon 9 rockets scheduled to launch this fiscal year.
SpaceX is supposed to land its rocket's first stage at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, which is just south of the NASA spaceport.There, three boosters have already touched down so far, which augurs well.
Last month, Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, achieved one of his most famous milestones by having his company refly a rocket that had already launched for a previous mission in the past.This greatly reduced launch costs and represents likely the future cost efficiency of all commercial space business models.
This also marks a significant victory for SpaceX against the many obstacles the company encountered in vying for military contracts.Thus far, the United Launch Alliance had a monopoly on such missions, and in particular, this was rendered under the partnership of Boeing and Lockheed Martin.They flew nearly every significant military spacecraft that has flown since December 2006.
SpaceX has also earned two launch contracts with the U.S.Air Force to put GPS-3 satellites in orbit.