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Space X secures US military contract

Space X has increased its potential client base in a big way. While it may already have contracts with NASA to ferry cargo and eventual astronauts to the ISS, it’s now secured a deal with the US military to provide launch vehicles for satellites that will have various functions, including those used for intelligence purposes.

“SpaceX’s emergence as a viable commercial launch provider provides the opportunity to compete launch services for the first time in almost a decade,” Air Force Secretary Deborah James said in a statement.

Space X’s founder, Elon Musk responded in an equally positive manner, stating:  “This is an important step toward bringing competition to National Security Space launch. We thank the Air Force for its confidence in us and look forward to serving it well.”

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Perhaps the big news from this story though, isn’t that Space X has earned itself a solid contract that will mean it’s well funded throughout the next few years of research, but that it’s managed to topple a long standing corporate partnership in the process. Lockheed Martin and Boeing’s cooperative efforts have monopolised military and spy satellite launches for years. Now the young upstart Space X has snatched work right from under their nose, as the BBC points out.

Clearly it’s doing something right, though part of the reason is likely to be that the Atlas 5 rocket built by Lockheed Martin utilises Russian engines, which the US government has banned the use of for launches that concern national security by 2019.

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KitGuru Says: Good for Space X. It’s impressive to see the wheels of the commercial space industry really starting to spin up.

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