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. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
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.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.