On Wednesday, SpaceX announced that it has landed two launch contracts worth $262 million with the United States Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center.
SpaceX’s contract with the US Air Force calls for two Falcon rocket launches between 2014 and 2015. The first launch will bring NASA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite to space aboard a Falcon 9 rocket.
Once there, the satellite will then travel far enough away to be able to observe the Earth and monitor solar activity, which is expected to pick up as we enter the solar maximum.
The second launch is intended to show off the Falcon 9 Heavy’s payload carrying capabilities to the US Air Force. The rocket will carry the Space Test Program-2, or the STP-2, into space at some yet undetermined point in 2015.
Each rocket is expected to launch from the Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
“SpaceX deeply appreciates and is honored by the vote of confidence shown by the Air Force in our Falcon launch vehicles,” said Elon Musk, CEO and chief designer at SpaceX.
“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.”
If the two missions are successful, then it would help secure the rockets Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) certification, putting SpaceX in direct competition for military contracts with the likes of Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
SpaceX is currently planning to launch a test flight of its Falcon Heavy rocket at some point next year.