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SpaceX launches first national security mission in the USA



A SpaceX missile carrying a US military navigation satellite was launched Sunday from Cape Canaveral in Florida and marked the United States' first national security mission to the United States.

The Falcon 9 rocket hauled a $ 500 million GPS satellite built by Lockheed Martin Corp. at 8:51 am local time (1,351 GMT) from Cape Canaveral. Four previous launches last week, including one on Saturday, were canceled due to weather and technical issues.

The successful launch is a significant victory for privately held billionaire Elon Musk, who has been trying for years to break the lucrative military space market, dominated by Lockheed and Boeing Co.

SpaceX sued the US Air Force in 2014 for awarding a multi-billion-dollar contract for 36 missiles to the United Launch Alliance, a partnership between Boeing and Lockheed. The lawsuit was discontinued in 2015 after the Air Force approved the opening of the contest.

Next year, SpaceX won a $ 83 million air force contract to launch the GPS III satellite, which will have a lifespan of 15 years.

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A SpaceX Falcon 9- Rocket takes off from a supply mission to the International Space Station Historic launch pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA, February 19, 2017. REUTERS / Joe Skipper TPX PICTURES OF THE DAY

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket takes off a service mission to the International Space Station off the historic Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA, February 19, 2017. REUTERS / Mike Brown

SOLVANG, CA – December 22: The Contrail of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched at the Vandenberg Air Force Base lights off the early evening sky on December 22, 2017 from Solvang, California. The spectacular event seen by millions of people in parts of Arizona, as well as in Central and Southern California, was the result of sunlight that hit the contrails as ten communications satellites were launched into orbit by the private space company. (Photo by George Rose / Getty Images)

SOLVANG, California – December 22: The contrail of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched at Vandenberg Air Force Base illuminates the early evening sky on December 22, 2017 from Solvang , California. The spectacular event seen by millions of people in parts of Arizona, as well as in Central and Southern California, was the result of sunlight that hit the contrails as ten communications satellites were launched into orbit by the private space company. (Photo by George Rose / Getty Images)

SOLVANG, California – December 22: The contrail of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket fired at Vandenberg Air Force Base illuminates the early evening sky on December 22, 2017 from Solvang , California. The spectacular event seen by millions of people in parts of Arizona, as well as in Central and Southern California, was the result of sunlight that hit the contrails as ten communications satellites were launched into orbit by the private space company. (Photo by George Rose / Getty Images)

The billionaire entrepreneur and founder of SpaceX, Elon Musk, talks down the computer an illustration of his new rocket at the 68th International Astronautical Congress 2017 in Adelaide on September 29, 2017.
Musk said his company SpaceX had begun serious work on the BFR missile when planning an interplanetary transport system. / AFP-PHOTO / PETER PARKS (image credits should be PETER PARKS)

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is preparing to launch the Space Launch Complex 4 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc on December 22, 2017 , California.
SpaceX blew up a reused Falcon 9 rocket, which put ten satellites into orbit. The fourth launch was to upgrade $ 3 billion for Iridium's mobile, voice and data network in Virginia. / AFP-PHOTO / Robyn Beck (The loan should be ROBYN BECK / AFP / Getty Images)

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket (centered below and in a horizontal position) is being used to launch a supply mission to International Space Prepare for the Historic Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, FL, USA, February 17, 2017. The launch is scheduled for February 18. REUTERS / Joe Skipper

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in a horizontal position is ready to launch an International Space Station service mission on Historic Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida, on 17 February 2017. The start is scheduled for the 18th of February. REUTERS / Joe Skipper

SpaceX Founder and CEO Ellon Musk sits in a booth exhibited on a stand during the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Contest in Hawthorne, Los Angeles, California, USA, on January 29, 2017. REUTERS / Monica Almeida

WARR Hyderloop Team Members, Munich Technical University Showcase their pods during the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod competition in Hawthorne, Los Angeles, California, USA, January 29, 2017. REUTERS / Monica Almeida

The reconstructed first stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will be transported to the SpaceX hangar on the launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on May 14, 2016 in Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA. The vehicle was launched on 6 May and landed a short time later aboard a barge in the Atlantic. REUTERS / Joe Skipper THE TODAY'S TPX PICTURES

The regained first stages of three SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets will be photographed at the SpaceX Hangar on Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida (14th May) May 2016). The stages are being prepared for the restart. REUTERS / Joe Skipper TPX PICTURES OF THE DAY

The SpaceX Dragon Cargo Pod approaches the International Space Station prior to installation in this NASA photo taken on April 10, 2016. REUTERS / NASA via Social Media / Reuters Handout THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY, HOW REUTERS GET AS CUSTOMER SERVICE. ONLY FOR EDITORIAL USE. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS

SpaceX boss Elon Musk speaks after the unveiling of the spacecraft Dragon V2 in Hawthorne (California, May 29, 2014). Space Exploration Technologies announced on April 27, 2016, that the dragon spacecraft will send Drang to Mars as early as possible 2018, a first step in the path of company founder Elon Musk to bring people to another planet. REUTERS / Mario Anzuoni / File Photo

The first stage of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lands in a time-lapse at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on the launcher's first mission since failing in June at Cape Canaveral, Florida (December ) 21, 2015. The rocket carried a payload of eleven satellites owned by the New Jersey-based communications company Orbcomm. REUTERS / Joe Skipper TPX PICTURES OF THE DAY

The unmanned SpaceX Crew Dragon lands after taking off Launch Pad 40 during a pad-abort test at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida on May 6, 2015 REUTERS / Scott Audette

The unmanned SpaceX crew dragon takes off from launch pad 40 during a pad-abort test at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida, May 6, 2015. REUTERS / Scott Audette

The unmanned Falcon 9 rocket, launched by SpaceX, carries NOAA's Deep Space Climate Observatory Satellite on February 11, 2015 from the launch pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The rocket launched on Wednesday to launch the US satellite into space. There, the solar storms are kept in view and the earth from a distance of nearly 1 million miles (1.6 million km) made visible. REUTERS / Scott Audette (UNITED STATES – Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY TRANSPORT ENVIRONMENT)

The unmanned Falcon 9 rocket, launched by SpaceX on a service mission to supply the International Space Station, is taking off from the Cape Canaveral air force base Cape Canaveral off. Florida, January 10, 2015. REUTERS / Scott Audette (UNITED STATES – Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY TRANSPORT)

SpaceX employees investigate the unmanned Falcon 9 rocket, which is the NOAA's Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) in a horizontal position at launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral air force station in Cape Canaveral, Florida, February 9, 2015. The launch of the SpaceX missile with a US weather satellite that was sent into space was released just minutes before take-off canceled on Sunday due to a technical problem said. The start was scheduled for 18:10. EST (2310 GMT) from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. However, about 2.5 minutes before taking off, there was a problem with an Air Force radar system required to track the missile in flight. REUTERS / Scott Audette (UNITED STATES – Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY TRANSPORT)

SpaceX boss Elon Musk poses from the Dragon V2 spacecraft after being unveiled on May 29, 2014 in Hawthorne, California. Space Exploration Technologies or SpaceX, unveiled on Thursday An upgraded passenger version of the Dragon Cargo Ship, which NASA is purchasing for replenishment trips to the International Space Station. REUTERS / Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS TRANSPORT SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY SOCIETY)

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will be launching at Cape Canaveral, FL, in this NASA handout image that took place on January 9th Launched in 2015, launch the rocket on Saturday and try to land the discarded booster on a platform in the ocean. REUTERS / NASA / Reuters (UNITED STATES) handout

A SpaceX-upgraded Falcon 9 missile is being prepared on September 27, 2013 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Privately held Space Exploration Technologies plans to test an improved Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday from a location in California as part of the launch into the satellite launch market. On the 22-story, roughened Falcon 9 will be the Canadian science satellite Cassiope. The start takes place at 9 o'clock in the afternoon (1600 GMT).
"This is essentially a development missile flight". Company founder and CEO Elon Musk told Reuters. REUTERS / Gene Blevins (UNITED STATES – Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS)

The SpaceX Dragon Capsule is shot by the crew of the International Space Station with its robotic arm in this screenshot of the NASA handout video, which was released on March 3, 2013. ISS has successfully conquered the capsule at 0531 EST (approximately 253 miles) above northern Ukraine. REUTERS / NASA / Handout (OUTER SPACE – Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY TRANSPORT) This image was provided by a third party. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY, HOW REUTERS GET AS CUSTOMER SERVICE. ONLY FOR EDITORIAL USE. NOT FOR SALE TO MARKET OR ADVERTISE CAMPAIGNS

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden (L) and SpaceX Chief and Chief Designer Elon Musk see the historic Dragon Capsule launch on May 31 after a private company's first successful mission Earth returned to supply the International Space Station at the McGregor SpaceX facility on June 13, 2012. Bolden and Musk also thanked the over 150 SpaceX employees working at the McGregor facility for their role in the historic mission. REUTERS / Bill Ingalls / NASA (UNITED STATES – Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY) ONLY FOR EDITORIAL USE. NOT FOR SALE FOR THE MARKETING OR ADVERTISING OF CAMPAIGNS. This picture was provided by a third party. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, ACCORDINGLY, TO REUTERS AS A CUSTOMER SERVICE

This photograph provided by NASA shows a "fisheye" view of the interior of the SpaceX Dragon cargo ship and was taken by a crew member of Expedition 31 aboard the International Space Station on May 26, 2012. Dragon was the first commercially developed spacecraft to be brought to the station to visit Russian, European and Japanese supply vehicles serving the complex, as well as the US capability to bring cargo to the orbital lab. restore. REUTERS / NASA / Handout (SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY) ONLY FOR EDITORIAL USE. NOT FOR SALE FOR THE MARKETING OR ADVERTISING OF CAMPAIGNS. This picture was provided by a third party. IT IS DISTRIBUTED TO HAVE ACCURATE REUTERS AS A CUSTOMER SERVICE




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The satellite is the first to commission a total of 32 from Lockheed and has a total value of US $ 12.6 billion Dollar has The Air Force GPS III program, according to Lockheed spokesman Chip Eschenfelder.

The launch was originally scheduled for 2014, but was hampered by production delays, the Air Force said.

The next GPS III satellite is scheduled to launch in mid-2019, Eschenfelder said, while subsequent satellites will be tested at the company's processing plant in Colorado.

(Additional coverage by Eric M. Johnson and Gina Cherelus, editorial by Hugh Lawson and Daniel Wallis)


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