SpaceX secures first major military contract

The firm will be providing a Falcon 9 rocket for the use of the US Air Force.

SpaceX has reached a major milestone by securing a military contract with the US Air Force.

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Announced on Wednesday, SpaceX said the National Security Space (NSS) launch services contract is for Global Positioning System (GPS) III Launch Services, in which the Falcon 9 rocket will be used to launch a GPS satellite into space.

The total value of the contract is $82.7 million, which will cover vehicle production, mission integration, and launch operations and spaceflight certification.

The contract has now broken up the space monopoly. Rival firm United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing, is the developer of the Atlas and Delta launch systems which have been used in over 1,300 missions over the past 50 years.

Until now, ULA has dominated this area of space, but SpaceX may now be considered a worthy commercial rival for the attention of governments, military and space projects.

GPSIII represents next-generation satellites which are used for both military and civilian purposes. The satellite will provide anti-jamming capabilities as well as improved accuracy and movement.

SpaceX's average cost for launch is $61.2 million, as noted by Popular Science. In comparison, ULA -- which dropped out of the running as it was unable to meet SpaceX's bid in price -- needs $225 million to launch a satellite.

The launch of the satellite will take place at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., and is scheduled for May 2018.

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