SpaceX Wins its First EELV-Class Missions

The Air Force has tasked SpaceX to provide the space launch vehicles for two Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle-class missions, announced the company on Wednesday. This marks the first time that the company has secured launch work for these types of national security space missions, states the company’s Dec. 5 release. It also represents some first fruit from the Air Force’s efforts to make it possible for new launch providers to enter the market for such missions. Currently the Air Force uses United Launch Alliance Delta IV and Atlas V rockets. Space X will provide one of its Falcon 9 rockets for the Deep Space Climate Observatory launch in late 2014, and a Falcon Heavy for the Space Test Program 2 mission in mid 2015, states the release. These launches are expected to occur from the company’s new launch pad at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla. “SpaceX deeply appreciates and is honored by the vote of confidence shown by the Air Force in our Falcon launch vehicles,” said SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. The company intends to fly the new Falcon Heavy configuration for the first time next year. (See also Erosion Control and Space Launch Contract Takes Off.)