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Air Force contract marks a first for Falcon Heavy

Falcon Heavy launch
An automated camera documents the Falcon Heavy rocket’s first ascent from Kennedy Space Center in February with SpaceX’s hangar in the foreground. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

The U.S. Air Force has awarded a $130 million firm-fixed-price contract to SpaceX for the launch of its classified AFSPC-52 satellite on a Falcon Heavy rocket.

It’s the first national security contract won for SpaceX’s heavy-lift rocket, which had its first test flight in February. AFSPC-52 is tue to lift off in 2020 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The launch will support the Air Force Space Command’s “mission of delivering resilient and affordable space capabilities to our nation while maintaining assured access to space,” Lt. Gen. John Thompson, Air Force program executive officer for space and commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center, said today in a news release.

In an emailed statement, SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said her company was “honored by the Air Force’s selection of Falcon Heavy to launch the competitively awarded AFSPC-52 mission.”

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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