SpaceX, the aerospace company founded by Elon Musk, successfully launched a GPS III satellite on a Falcon 9 for the US Space Force on Thursday.
After the Falcon 9 detached from the satellite vehicle, the booster rocket landed on SpaceX’s drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” in the Atlantic Ocean.
This was SpaceX’s second mission to launch a GPS III satellite for the US military this year.
The GPS III satellite, built by Lockheed Martin, is designed to provide the United States with better GPS navigation capabilities, including improved jamming technology to prevent interference.
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Elon Musk’s aerospace company SpaceX successfully launched a GPS satellite for the US Space Force on Thursday, completing its second mission for the US military this year.
A brand new SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket took off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 6:24 PM EST, bringing GPS III-SV04 into orbit.
A vehicle carrying the satellite had separated from the rocket and was using onboard propulsion to climb 12,550 miles above Earth, satellite maker Lockheed Martin said.
Nine minutes after launch, the rocket landed on SpaceX’s drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You”, located in the Atlantic Ocean.
Take off! pic.twitter.com/LI4O0TNmL8
– SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 5, 2020
SpaceX is in an extraordinary series with Starlink, Elon Musk’s plan to flood the Earth with high-speed Internet. But the scheme is not without major obstacles.
GPS III satellites, of which this is Lockheed Martin’s fourth to enter orbit, are designed to provide the United States with improved GPS navigation capabilities, including improved jamming technology to prevent interference.
SpaceX launched the first GPS III satellite in December 2018. The second GPS III was launched on the final flight of the United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV Medium in August 2019, according to Space.com.
SpaceX successfully launched the third satellite in June, meaning the latest launch marks the second for the U.S. military this year.
Elon Musk’s space company stepped up its military contracts in the second half of 2020, securing three military contracts in as many months.
In August, he won 40% of a billion dollar deal with the Department of Defense to launch new rockets for the Space Force.
Then in October he won a $ 149 million Pentagon contract to build missile tracking satellites, as well as a deal to build a 7,500 mph rocket to deliver cargo and weapons for the US military.
Thursday’s flight marked SpaceX’s 20th mission this year and the 97th Falcon 9 rocket in flight, according to Space.com.
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