Why the USAF gave preference to the rocket, the Falcon Heavy from SpaceX

Rocket, the Falcon Heavy’s hit the road and do it very effectively. It took only a few months after her amazing debut, and this super-heavy rocket SpaceX is again talking to the media. But this time not due to the fact that it flew in space, a red electric car “Tesla”, but because it loudly praised the military of the air force.

Почему ВВС США отдали предпочтение ракете Falcon Heavy от SpaceX

A complete surprise was the fact that after only one flight of missiles, the air force announced that it has certified the Falcon Heavy for the implementation of military launches and already gave the company the first contract for space flight. The contract is worth $ 130 million. This is the sum of delivery cost to orbit satellites of the space command of the air force, which will fly there in about 2020.

SpaceX is not the only company hoping to get the coveted contract. The air force command in its press release noted that requests have several. Although a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin United Launch Alliance in a press release is not mentioned, the military was given to understand that the newcomer SpaceX Falcon Heavy won proven rocket “Delta IV”. This is the only other Falcon rocket, which is certified by the air force.

“SpaceX has the honour to announce that the air force has selected the Falcon Heavy for launch of their satellites, said last week the President and CEO of Gwynn Shotwell. On behalf of all our staff I want to thank the air force for the certification of the Falcon Heavy for what they instructed us to perform such important missions as well as for their trust to our company and confidence in us.”

But SpaceX does not always enjoy the full confidence of the air force. In 2015, the aerospace company appealed to the military to give firms-organizers reusable launches the opportunity to compete for lucrative military contracts that up to that time United Launch Alliance was a monopoly.

Over time, the air force has opened the tender, which was open to any firm that meets the certification requirements of the military. Currently, they meet only SpaceX and United Launch Alliance. Usually, the applicant must provide a minimum of three successful flight on the same launch vehicle. In 2015 was approved by the Falcon 9 rocket. But with Falcon Heavy, everything turned out differently.

After the first flight, the air force decided that the heavy rocket earned their seal of approval. But to keep the contract, she would have to fly at least three times prior to launch of the satellite in 2020.

For this reason, the Falcon Heavy, which essentially consists of three linked together Falcon 9 rocket, has become a powerful new weapon in the Arsenal of SpaceX. According to the company, the Falcon Heavy could deliver to low earth orbit 63 800 kg of payload, geostationary transfer orbit — 26 700 kg. For comparison, United Launch Alliance says its rocket “Delta IV” can deliver into low-earth orbit 28 300 kg of cargo, and in geostationary orbit — 13 800 kg.

Here is another attractive point is the lower price. $ 130 million. delivery of the satellite is approximately 2-3 times less than the cost of a flight “Delta IV”, which, according to the CEO of United Launch Alliance Tory Bruno, will cost about 350 million

SpaceX will also get a lot of money from Florida. We are talking about 14.5 million dollars who will pay the Agency Space Florida engaged in economic development of the aerospace industry in the state. On this money it will be possible to implement the planned expansion of the company, including to build a new missile hangar’s control center, launch and landing, and rocket Museum where they show old boosters.

The creation of new industrial zones with an area of 45 thousand square meters, will give the company the ability to store and repair a large number of Falcon missiles and nose cones near the launch pad that will expand the possibilities of their reuse. Currently, SpaceX has two launch pads, control center, start in a small office building near the air force base and some facilities at the port, where remote controlled back court with returning from a flight missiles. In the hangar adjacent to launch pad 39A, you can store a total of three booster.

However, the company hopes that in the future will be able to create 50 boosters of the first stage. If that happens, she’ll need more space for maintenance and repair of missiles and other components reusable.

SpaceX will also need a pad for the satellite constellation Starlink. Today, the company launched only two satellites, intending eventually to bring their numbers to several thousand. Two experimental satellites with wide frequency range under the name of Tintin Tintin A and B was launched in February, and the company intends already to 2020-2021 years to run 800 of these satellites.

But while it is not necessary to dream of walks on the new rocket SpaceX Museum under the open sky. To increase the size of their space, companies need to obtain environmental opinion. But since SpaceX are waiting for new military contracts, such a conclusion is not far off.


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