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U.S. Defense Payloads to Fly on Reused SpaceX Boosters

26 Sep 2020, 15:26 UTC
U.S. Defense Payloads to Fly on Reused SpaceX Boosters
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Falcon 9 lifts off with the SAOCOM 1B satellite. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (SMC PR) — The U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center Launch Enterprise and Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) recently signed a contract modification to reuse a Falcon 9 first-stage booster – for the first time on a National Security Space Launch mission – starting with the fifth Global Positioning System (GPS)-III satellite, scheduled to launch next year.

While SMC’s Launch Enterprise and SpaceX previously signed contract modifications enabling SpaceX to recover boosters for GPS III missions, this landmark “reuse” contract modification is the first of its kind for NSSL missions.

“The United States’ launch industry is the envy of the world,” said Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, commander of the U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center. “Industry’s innovation has been key to SMC’s success over our 60+ year existence. I am thrilled to welcome SpaceX’s innovative reuse into the National Security Space Launch program!”

“SMC’s commitment to innovative partnerships and working with the commercial sector while maintaining our mission assurance posture and mission-success record cannot be understated,” said Dr. Walt Lauderdale, SMC’s Falcon Systems and Operations Division chief ...

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