Space and astronomy news and information for the American Southwest. Coverage includes Vandenberg AFB rocket and missile launches.

SpaceX to Demonstrate Responsive Launch

Space Exploration Technologies News Release

2004 September 20

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) has been awarded $8M by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and U.S. Air Force to demonstrate highly responsive, affordable launch capability. This supports broader interest by the Defense Department and Air Force in a launch capability that can rapidly add satellite coverage when needed.

The demonstration will take place next summer with the objective of cutting on pad processing time by a factor of two from the standard commercial Falcon I launcher, which was developed with private funding. The SpaceX Falcon I rocket, whose name precedes the DARPA FALCON program, was named after the Star Wars Millennium Falcon™.

“With this program, the Department of Defense is continuing a tradition of supporting new American space launch capabilities,” said Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX. “We are honored to be selected by DARPA and the U.S. Air Force. We will work hard to exceed their expectations.”

SpaceX now has three launches of Falcon I and one launch of Falcon V under contract. First launch of Falcon I will carry the TacSat-1 satellite to a 500km orbit from the SpaceX launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base and is scheduled to occur between the end of 2004 and early 2005.

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Copyright © 2004, Brian Webb. All rights reserved.