SpaceX and United Launch Alliance have split up to $645 million in new contracts to deploy U.S. Air Force navigation and surveillance satellites into orbit from 2019 through 2021.
A Falcon 9 rocket built and operated by SpaceX will launch the Air Force’s fourth new-generation GPS 3-series navigation satellite in late 2019. The Air Force and SpaceX also secured options for two additional GPS satellite launches in 2020 and 2021, raising the total potential value of the contract to nearly $290.6 million.
Two United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rockets will loft the Air Force’s AFSPC-12 and AFSPC-8 missions, both destined for deployment in circular geosynchronous orbits more than 22,000 miles (36,000 kilometers) above the equator. The AFSPC-8 and AFSPC-12 missions are scheduled for launch in 2020.
The contracts for the two Atlas 5 launches are valued at $354.8 million. A ULA spokesperson said the company is not currently releasing which Atlas 5 configurations — the size of the payload fairing and number of solid rocket boosters — will launch the two missions.
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