SpaceX awarded $96.5M contract to launch GPS III satellite
SpaceX on Tuesday bagged a $96.5 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to launch a Global Positioning System III (GPS III) satellite using a Falcon 9 rocket in February 2019.
Last year, the private sector firm won an $82.7 million contract from the Air Force to launch a similar satellite in 2018.
The Air Force wanted a bidding process for the satellite mission. But the Boeing-Lockheed joint venture called ULA decided not to submit a bid, clearing the way for Elon Musk’s firm. However, ULA had previously announced that it was a bidder.
Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, the commander of the Space & Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles, said, “The competitive award of the GPS III launch services contract to SpaceX directly supports SMC’s mission of delivering resilient and affordable space capabilities to our Nation.”
SpaceX had submitted its bid a few weeks after a Falcon 9 rocket exploded on its launch pad on 1st of September last year, destroying the rocket as well as a commercial satellite.
Meanwhile, SpaceX is preparing to launch a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the direct-to-home television broadcast satellite EchoStar 23, which is slated for 1:35 a.m. EST (0535 GMT) on Thursday, March 16. Originally, it was scheduled to take place at 1:34 a.m. EDT (0534 GMT) on Tuesday.