SpaceX Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy will launch military satellites into orbit.
After years of battling for the right to launch military payloads for the U.S. government, SpaceX officially received a $ 316 million contract from Elon Musk from the Space Force for an indefinite number of launches between 2022 and 2027.
The Space and Missiles System Center and the National Reconnaissance Office announced on Friday that both SpaceX and the United Launch Alliance (a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin) have received phase two contracts for National Security Space Launch Services (NSSL), with ULA receives $ 337 million for 60 percent of launches during the reporting period and SpaceX receives the remaining 40 percent of missions.
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SpaceX and ULA defeated Northrop Grumman and Jeff Bezos & # 39; Blue Origin, who also submitted bids for the contracts. However, Blue Origin is not completely losing, as it will supply the engines for ULA missiles in the future.
The deal is important endorsement for SpaceX and Musk, who sued the military at least twice after being banned from previous missile development and launch deals. SpaceX finally dropped a lawsuit in 2015 after the Air Force awarded ULA a launch contract through a bidding process. Musk's company claimed to have wrongly favored the previous launch provider.
Then, last year, it was revealed that SpaceX had again sued the NSSL phase one contracts, which gave companies money to develop the rockets they would use to apply for phase two contracts to actually perform launches.
Blue Origin, Northrop Grumman, and ULA all received phase one money, while SpaceX was left out – reportedly because some of the funds would be used to further develop the company's next-generation starship, prompting the government to end the SpaceX- Accepting the proposal will be the "highest risk" according to court documents.
While continuing to advocate some of that development funding, SpaceX put forward a proposal for the start-up contract for the second phase and has now turned down Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman, although the additional money given to these companies was missed.
In a statement, Blue Origin said it was "disappointed with the Space Force's decision" to opt for SpaceX Falcon missiles over their nascent New Glenn system. The Bezos company added it is "very proud that our BE-4 engine will power the United Launch Alliance's Vulcan launcher in support of the Space Force's NSSL program."
Similarly, Northrop Grumman said, "We are disappointed with this decision. We are confident that we have made a strong proposal that reflects our extensive spacecraft launch experience."
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