SpaceX Awarded 2 Missions From Air Force, Company Will Return To Space
NASA has seen better days. It's ridiculously underfunded thanks to President Brack Obama's plant to cut funding to the organization, but thankfully, the free market has once again show why it can inspire greatness from the American people. SpaceX—a privately owned spacecraft and rocket manufacturer and launcher—is best known for being the first private spacecraft that successfully resupplied the International Space Station, but that may all change very soon.
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The United States Air Force Space and Missile System Center awarded SpaceX two new missions that have been categorized as Expendable Vehicle (EELV)-class missions. The first mission has been dubbed DSCOVR, which stands for Deep Space Climate Observatory. The second mission has been dubbed STP-2, which stands for Space Test Program 2. The vehicles are scheduled for 2014 and 2015 respectively.
"Both missions fall under Orbital/Suborbital Program-3 (OSP-3), an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the US Air Force Rocket Systems Launch Program. OSP-3 represents the first Air Force contract designed to provide new entrants to the EELV program an opportunity to demonstrate their vehicle capabilities," said SpaceX in a written statement.
This isn't the only big news coming from SpaceX. The company reportedly ended its subcontracting operations in collaboration with Stratolaunch Systems, a private group that has hopes to launch satellites from a huge airplane that sits at the top of the atmosphere. In the wake of the fallout between the two space companies, Stratolaunch hired Orbital Sciences Corporation to come up with a new design for launching satellites.
AVweb reports, "The launch system, funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, was announced a year ago to mark what Allen said was 'the dawn of radical change in the space launch industry.' The carbon-fibre aircraft, designed by Burt Rutan, will have a 385-foot wing joining two fuselages and a carrier mechanism in the middle. The rocket booster was to have been an adaptation of SpaceX's pad-launch rocket but that turned out to be too much of an engineering stretch."
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