The Air Force confirmed two proposals were submitted for this award. ULA — a joint venture between legacy firms Boeing and Lockheed Martin — is the only other company eligible to conduct certain military launches that relate to national security.
“SpaceX is honored by the Air Force’s selection of Falcon Heavy to launch the competitively-awarded AFSPC-52 mission,” SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell said in a statement. “SpaceX is pleased to continue offering the American taxpayer the most cost-effective, reliable launch services for vital national security space missions.”
SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket boasts about three times the power of SpaceX’s workhorse Falcon 9 rocket.
Falcon Heavy garnered widespread public attention during its maiden launch in February. CEO Elon Musk decided to use his personal cherry red Tesla roadster as the test payload. The company shared images of the vehicle after the launch, which showed it carrying a mannequin in a spacesuit, as it soared above Earth.
According to SpaceX, the rocket delivered on its mission flawlessly.