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After Four Attempts, Elon Musk’s SpaceX Finally Launches Maiden Military Satellite

Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX blasted off yet another spacecraft rocket into the orbit on Sunday. However, this rocket launch from Florida’s Cape Canaveral was a bit special as it added a fresh feather in SpaceX’s cap. The launch marks SpaceX’s first-ever launch of a military satellite, giving musk’s rocket company an opportunity to break into the lucrative market of military space.

The Falcon 9 rocket launcher carried an approximately $500 million GPS satellite (developed by Lockheed Martin Corp) at roughly 8:51 am (1351 GMT).  Sunday’s successful launch was preceded by the cancellation of four previous scheduled launches that were scheduled last week, including the one on Saturday. These scheduled launches got canceled either due to bad weather or technical issues.

SpaceX's rocket launch.

SpaceX launches first ever military satellite

Sunday’s successful launch can be hailed as a significant victory for Elon Musk’s space company as it has been trying to break into the highly rewarding military space market for many years. This victory is even more special for SpaceX considering that it had dragged the U.S. Air Force to court in 2014, after it awarded the multibillion-dollar contract of 36 rocket launches to United Launch Alliance – a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed.

It withdrew the lawsuit in 2015 after Air Force agreed to break the monopoly of Boeing and Lockheed. The very next year Musk’s company secured an $83 million Air Force contract to launch the GPS III satellite.

The GPS III satellite is a next-generation version satellite that will significantly aid the US Air Force in more precise geolocation services. However, the Air Force’s work on the ground-based systems that is mandatory to operate it is still in progress, according to the Verge.

As 2018 almost comes to an end SpaceX can look back to the year gone by with immense pride. Musk’s company has indeed been able to achieve some special milestones this year including the launch of SpaceX Falcon heavy rocket into Mars’ orbit and launching of 64 satellites earlier this month in what was a record-breaking mission.

 

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