After Four Attempts, Elon Musk's SpaceX Finally Launches Maiden Military Satellite

After Four Attempts, Elon Musk's SpaceX Finally Launches Maiden Military Satellite

Space X rocket carrying U.S. military took off from Cape Canaveral from Florida on Sunday making the first-ever transportation of the security space transportation of the United States successful. This time, however, SpaceX won't attempt to land Falcon 9's first stage after the launch, the company said in its press kit, citing mission requirements.

The satellite was supposed to soar Tuesday but rocket concerns and then weather delayed the flight.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, scheduled to launch a U.S. Air Force navigation satellite, sits on Launch Complex 40 after the launch was postponed.

SpaceX sued the US Air Force in 2014 in protest over the military's award of a multibillion-dollar, non-compete contract for 36 rocket launches to United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Boeing and Lockheed.

SpaceX has launched payloads for the United States military before, but Vespucci is the company's first official "National Security Space" mission - a designation reserved for liftoffs deemed critical to national defense.

ULA has flown eight missions in 2018, and a ninth is scheduled for no earlier than 30 December from Vandenberg Air Force Base on California's central coast. The GPS III satellite, known as GPS 3 SV01 and nicknamed "Vespucci, will feature higher-power positioning, timing signals, and navigation around the world". It dropped the lawsuit in 2015 after the Air Force agreed to open up competition.

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Global Positioning System navigation, designed by Lockheed Martin, is the first US national security space mission.

The GPS III satellite is a next-generation version satellite that will significantly aid the US Air Force in more precise geolocation services.

The next GPS III satellite is due to launch in mid-2019, Mr Eschenfelder said, while subsequent satellites undergo testing in the company's Colorado processing facility.

This was SpaceX's 21st launch of the year, up from a record 18 in 2017.

Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX's valuation has climbed as it has racked up successful missions, making it the third-most valuable venture-backed start-up in the USA after Uber Technologies and Airbnb.