SpaceX wins an $82.7-million Air Force contract to launch a GPS satellite

Space X Launch

SpaceX is scheduled to launch the satellite for the Air Force aboard its Falcon 9 rocket in May 2018. Above, a SpaceX rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force station in March.

(Craig Bailey / Associated Press)

SpaceX has won a $82.7-million contract to launch a government GPS satellite for the U.S. Air Force, marking the end to the monopoly in the national security launch market.

The Hawthorne company is scheduled to launch the GPS III satellite aboard its Falcon 9 rocket in May 2018 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The satellite is intended to provide increased anti-jamming capabilities and also more precise navigation and timing for military and civilian uses, according to a statement by the Air Force.

SpaceX was certified in May to carry national security and military satellites, a launch market long dominated by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp.


United Launch Alliance did not compete for the Air Force contract, saying at the time that the venture did not have the “accounting systems in place to make a compliant bid.”

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