Science | October 25, 2017 9:00 am

SpaceX Continues to Book Secret Military Missions

But is the company making enough progress for Vice President Pence?

Here's What We Learned About the Secret Mission SpaceX Is Launching Thursday
SpaceX launched a spy satellite for the NRO in 2017. (SpaceX)

SpaceX and the United States military are a match made in the outermost layers of the atmosphere. In a new report Tuesday, Wired outlines the various covert missions SpaceX has been commissioned for by the government, including a national security mission earlier in 2017 with the National Reconnaissance Office, and another with the Air Force in September as Hurricane Irma neared the Florida coast. An upcoming top-secret launch with the code name “Zuma” is scheduled for November.

The company’s reusable boosters are what make them so attractive, Wired reports; the potential savings for customers rank in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Despite the progress, Wired notes that SpaceX’s cadence — currently neck-and-neck with the Russians for launches in 2017 — doesn’t seem to be enough for Vice President Pence. At the National Space Council meeting on October 5, on which SpaceX president Gwynn Shotwell sat, Pence noted that “America seems to have lost our edge in space.”