WASHINGTON — SpaceX was awarded a $29.6 million contract under the National Security Space Launch Phase 2 contract that allows the U.S. Space Force to monitor and study data from the company’s commercial and civil space missions.

The one-year contract “provides early integration studies and fleet surveillance for non-national security space missions,” said the Space Force contract announcement Nov. 9.

Fleet surveillance includes access to proprietary “tools, systems, processes and launch site activities developed by the launch service provider for non-national security space missions,” said the Space Force. 

The contract gives the Space Force visibility into the company’s operations during an active launch period as SpaceX deploys its Starlink broadband internet constellation with its fleet of Falcon 9 rockets. SpaceX also is preparing to launch a commercial crew NASA mission to fly four astronauts to the International Space Station.

Starting next year, the Space Force for the first time will allow SpaceX to use previously flown Falcon 9 boosters to launch military GPS satellites. 

SpaceX and United Launch Alliance are the two providers selected for Phase 2 of the National Security Space Launch procurement. 

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...