Feeds

Musk's SpaceX gets foot in door of US secret 'black' space program

NASA? That's peanuts, let's go for the real money

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Internet space cowboy Elon Musk has scored two lucrative military contracts from the US Air Force, which could be stepping stones into the hugely lucrative 'black' spy-sat launch market.

SpaceX will launch two science missions for the USAF in 2014 and 2015, the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) and Space Test Program 2 (STP-2), on the Falcon 9 and the upcoming Falcon Heavy mega-rocket respectively.

"SpaceX deeply appreciates and is honoured by the vote of confidence shown by the Air Force in our Falcon launch vehicles," Musk gushed. "We look forward to providing high reliability access to space with lift capability to orbit that is substantially greater than any other launch vehicle in the world."

Both of the missions are part of the Orbital/Suborbital Program-3 (OSP-3), which is an ongoing contract for the Air Force Rocket Systems Launch Program. The programme is also a testing ground for new rockets before SpaceX might get its hands on some spy satellite contracts.

The launches, if successful, will give the US military confidence in the Falcon 9 and the hulking Falcon Heavy, due to become the most powerful rocket in the world, which is set to take its maiden flight in the second half of next year. The boosters will get the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle certs required by the Air Force.

This would make them eligible for secret missions lifting highly classified spy satellites for the National Reconnaissance Office, the nexus between the US military and intelligence communities which runs America's "black" secret space program - generally thought to dispose of much larger budgets than NASA can command. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
LightSquared backer sues FCC over spectrum shindy
Why, we might as well have been buying AIR
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.