U.S. space forces have approved the use of the recovered SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket for national security missions. The new contract with the space force has been revised to allow the upcoming GPS satellite to use the previously flying Falcon 9 first stage booster.According to space force officials, the Rockets now in use are approved and taxpayers will save about $53 million between two space flights.
Gwynne shotwell, President and chief operating officer of SpaceX, said in a statement that the company is proud to be able to use the advantages and capabilities of the Falcon 9 flight certification for national security space launches.
She also said the company was grateful for the efforts made by space forces to evaluate second-hand rockets, and SpaceX was pleased that space forces saw the benefits of the technology. The company's extensive reuse experiments have enabled it to continuously upgrade its rocket fleet and save a lot of taxes.
For a long time, SpaceX has been repeatedly flying its first stage rockets to help reduce space flight costs. The company has designed its larger Falcon heavy rocket to be reusable as well. Previous contract changes allowed SpaceX to land Falcon 9 stage 1 while launching GPS satellites for space forces. The next launch of GPS iii-sv04 is scheduled for Tuesday, September 29, and the first stage will attempt to land and reuse.
The new contract modification allows the GPS iii-sv05 and GPS iii-sv06 satellites to be launched using the first stage rockets previously flown. Both launches are currently scheduled for sometime next year.