SpaceX to retry launch in first US national security space mission

SpaceX to retry launch in first US national security space mission

SpaceX to retry launch in first US national security space mission

Elon Musk-led SpaceX had won the National Security Space (NSS) contract with the Air Force in 2016 and intends to launch an additional four GPS III missions on Falcon 9, which is a two-stage rocket manufactured by the company.

The launch of the rocket with a $500 million cargo was initially scheduled for December 18 but was later postponed several times due to technical and weather issues.

The spacecraft took off from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, carrying USAF's Global Positioning System III space vehicle (SV).

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

The Falcon 9 in question's first stage did not re-attempt landing, as the payload was too heavy and delivered too high into orbit for the rocket to meet performance requirements in its reusable configuration.

Conditions are about 95 percent "go" for launch Sunday, according to 45th Weather Squadron at Patrick Air Force Base in Brevard County. It dropped the lawsuit in 2015 after the Air Force agreed to open up competition.

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SpaceX has had a record-breaking 20 launches this year.

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

The launch would be the first of 32 satellites in production by Lockheed under contracts worth a combined United States dollars 12.6 billion for the Air Force GPS III program, Lockheed spokesman Chip Eschenfelder said.

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.

Built by, the satellite could eventually be one of as many as 32 satellites that the Air Force may order over the coming years to modernize its current satellite constellation.

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