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

Security for virtualized datacentres

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. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.