News & Opinion | July 5, 2018 1:44 pm

Air Force Betting on SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy Rocket After Just One Flight

After its first successful launch, private rocket wins $130 million contract for military use.

Falcon Heavy
The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rests on Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on February 5, 2018, ahead of its demonstration mission. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

Space X’s Falcon Heavy is back in the headlines. After just one successful flight, the private company’s rocket was certified by the U.S. Air Force for military launches and awarded its first highly coveted contract: the AFSPC-52 mission. Wired reports that the contract is valued at $130 million, which is the price of ferrying the Air Force Space Command-52 satellite to its intended orbit in the year 2020. This contract was highly sought after, and the Air Force noted that more than one launch provider put in a bid.

“SpaceX is honored by the Air Force’s selection of Falcon Heavy to launch the competitively-awarded AFSPC-52 mission,” SpaceX president and COO Gwynne Shotwell said in a statement released to the media last week, according to Wired. “On behalf of all of our employees, I want to thank the Air Force for certifying Falcon Heavy, awarding us this critically important mission, and for their trust and confidence in our company.”

In order to maintain the contact, the Falcon Heavy will need to successfully fly at least three more times before AFSPC-52’s scheduled 2020 launch date.