SpaceX intends to launch a final upgrade to the Falcon 9 rocket, known as the Block 5, later this year, and has three Falcon Heavy launches planned for the next 17 months.
SpaceX completed a “doubleheader” of launches June 25 with the launch of a second set of next-generation Iridium satellites from California, two days after another Falcon 9 from the East Coast.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 successfully launched a Bulgarian communications satellite June 23, a mission that marked the second time the company reused the rocket’s first stage.
Mobile satellite services provider Iridium is willing to use pre-flown Falcon 9 first stage boosters for the second half of its fleet replacement if SpaceX can show that reuse will shorten Iridium’s wait for launches.
The system uses GPS data and onboard computers to monitor the rocket's trajectory and destroy it should it go off course. It was first tested earlier this year on a Falcon 9 launch from the Kennedy Space Center.
Space Launch Complex 40 was damaged last September when a Falcon 9 exploded during preparations for a static fire test.
The Air Force declined to discuss how SpaceX got the contract and if it was sole-sourced.
It will be the fifth mission for the Air Force's advanced spaceplane, and the first time it hasn't lifted off aboard a ULA rocket.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 successfully launched a Dragon spacecraft June 3 making its second trip to the International Space Station.
The Falcon 9 will send a Dragon cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station, with the first stage landing at Cape Canaveral's Landing Zone 1.
SpaceX said the test was a success, setting the stage for a launch late Thursday of a Dragon cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station.
The Air Force expects a replacement for the Delta 4 Heavy rocket will be ready by 2023, with one of several vehicles under development able to take its place.
Elysium Space, the San Francisco startup that sends cremated remains into orbit, announced plans May 16 to launch its Elysium Star 2 memorial spacecraft on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket rideshare mission later this year from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. If the rocket reaches orbit, it will be the firm’s first successful spaceflight.