Air Force awarded SpaceX, with a $130 million contract for the launch of its AFSPC – 52 satellite of the Air Force Space Command. SpaceX bagged its first classified big ticket launch contract for its rocket Falcon Heavy.
The launch to take place from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Falcon Heavy overcame the competition from the United Alliance’s Delta 4 which was under the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program.
The contract award was announced by the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles on Thursday. Lt. Gen. John Thompson, SMC commander, said that it was another opportunity to foster competition on the EELV program, and all of it to reduce costs of launch and alongside maintain guaranteed access into space.
AFSPC – 52 is a proposed classified mission that is projected for launch by late 2020.
Ever since SpaceX approached the market to challenge ULA, under the present Phase 1A of the EELV program, this is the fifth competitive procurement. Against an average $350 million price tag of Delta 4 launches, the $130 million contract of the Falcon Heavy launch is considered very low.
Gwynne Shotwell, President and Chief Operating Officer of SpaceX mentioned in his statement that his company had been honored with the selection by the Air Force’s choice of the Falcon Heavy for the launch of the competitively awarded AFSPC – 52 expedition. She also mentioned saying that the contract that has been assigned to SpaceX indicates the trust and confidence that the U.S. Military has shown in the company.
The Falcon Heavy is also scheduled for October launch this year of the U.S. Air Forces’ STP – 2 technological demonstration mission. On 28th of September, the solicitation of the AFSPC – 52 purposes was released with its proposals due for submission by 30th October.
Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch Jr., the deputy of the military of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, during a meeting with reporters on Thursday at Pentagon said that he was very optimistic and confident that military launch costs will keep on continuing on a downward path.
Bunch further said, reporters, that, they need to watch, on what has been done. There has been money saved over a period. This has been driven by what has been done with competition and also with the commercial demand signal. The two has been a couple together.