Private service provider SpaceX has been certified by the US Air Force for the launching of spy and military satellites. Since 2006 Boeing and Lockheed have monopolised these launches.
Established by businessman Elon Musk, SpaceX already has agreements with NASA to transport crews and cargo to the ISS (International Space Station). The US military approval came following 24 months of US Air Force intensive reviewing. Deborah James, Secretary of the Air Force said: “SpaceX’s emergence as a viable commercial launch provider provides the opportunity to compete launch services for the first time in almost a decade,” and MR Musk stated that the award was “an important step toward bringing competition to national security space launch.” The Air Force is planning to commence the bidding process for the launch contract of Lockheed’s GPS satellites which will provide SpaceX with their first ever chance to vie for military contract work.