Berlin, 27 September 2020. – The U.S. Space Force signed a contract with SpaceX to use, for the first time, a so-called flight proven Falcon 9 first-stage booster for a military GPS mission, the Los Angeles Air Force Base announced on 25 September.
The U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) and SpaceX signed a contract modification to reuse a Falcon 9 first-stage booster for the first time on a national security space launch mission, the Air Force said. The first mission is the fifth GPS-III satellite, scheduled to launch next year.
SMC’s Launch Enterprise and SpaceX had previously signed contracts enabling SpaceX to recover boosters for GPS III missions.
“The United States’ launch industry is the envy of the world,” said Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, commander of the U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center. “Industry’s innovation has been key to SMC’s success over our 60+ year existence. I am thrilled to welcome SpaceX’s innovative reuse into the National Security Space Launch program”.
“SpaceX is proud to leverage Falcon 9’s flight-proven benefits and capabilities for national security space launch missions,” said Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer. “We appreciate the effort that the U.S. Space Force invested into the evaluation and are pleased that they see the benefits of the technology. Our extensive experience with reuse has allowed SpaceX to continually upgrade the fleet and save significant precious tax dollars on these launches.”