SpaceX has secured a $130-million contract to launch a US Air Force Space Command satellite. The (AFSPC)-52 mission is the fifth Air Force contract secured by the provider and the first to be launched aboard the Falcon Heavy.
The contract was awarded under the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program. SpaceX beat out United Launch Alliance and their Delta 4 for the (AFSPC)-52 contract. This is seemingly unsurprising when one considers that a Delta 4 launch costs almost triple ($350 million vs $130 million) that of a Falcon Heavy.
In a brief statement, SpaceX President and CEO Gwynne Shotwell told reporters that the provider was, “honored by the Air Force’s selection of Falcon Heavy to launch the competitively-awarded AFSPC-52 mission.”
This is the third confirmed Falcon Heavy mission. In addition to another Air Force mission set to launch the STP- technology demonstrator later this year, SpaceX has confirmed their first commercial payload from Arabsat. The Arabsat-6A satellite is currently scheduled to launch aboard a Falcon Heavy between December 2018 to January 2019. A number of other SpaceX customers also have the option to launch payloads aboard the Falcon Heavy but have not yet assigned spacecraft to the rocket.