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SpaceX on track for US Air Force Falcon 9 mission later this year


Reading between the lines, the US Air Force has effectively confirmed that GPS III Space Vehicle 03 (SV03) – the third GPS III satellite built by Lockheed Martin – is ready for launch aboard a SpaceX
Falcon 9 rocket, scheduled no earlier than December 2019.

In December 2018, SpaceX successfully launched the first GPS III spacecraft aboard an expendable Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket, kicking off a launch campaign – shared between SpaceX and ULA – that will likely last until 2023 or 2024. Thus far, ULA has won a single GPS III launch contract, scheduled for July 2019, while SpaceX has won three (with options for two more). Thanks to competition forcefully reintroduced by a 2014 SpaceX lawsuit, the USAF – and thus US taxpayers – are likely saving a minimum of $50M per GPS III launch.




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