December 5, 2012
SPACEX AWARDED TWO EELV-CLASS MISSIONS FROM THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE
(Hawthorne, CA) -- The United States Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center has awarded SpaceX two Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV)-class missions: DSCOVR (Deep Space Climate Observatory) and STP-2 (Space Test Program 2). To be launched on SpaceX's Falcon launch vehicles in 2014 and 2015 respectively, the awards mark the first EELV-class missions awarded to the company to date.
"SpaceX deeply appreciates and is honored by the vote of confidence shown by the Air Force in our Falcon launch vehicles," said Elon Musk, CEO and chief designer, SpaceX. "We look forward to providing high reliability access to space with lift capability to orbit that is substantially greater than any other launch vehicle in the world."
The DSCOVR mission will be launched aboard a Falcon 9 and is currently slated for late 2014, while STP-2 will be launched aboard the Falcon Heavy and is targeted for mid-2015. Both are expected to launch from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
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.
For the DSCOVR mission, a Falcon 9 rocket will launch a satellite to the Sun-Earth Lagrange point L1, a location approximately 1,500,000 km (932,057 mi) from Earth. The DSCOVR satellite will monitor Earth and space weather, providing advanced warning of space weather events that will impact both civilian and military activities on the Earth. The DSCOVR program is a partnership between the United States Air Force, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The STP-2 mission includes an integrated payload stack consisting of two co-prime space vehicles: the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate-2 (COSMIC-2), designed to monitor climate behaviors; and the Demonstration and Science Experiments (DSX), which will conduct radiation research for the Department of Defense. SpaceX's Falcon Heavy will execute two orbital insertions, deploying COSMIC-2 into low-Earth orbit and DSX into medium-Earth orbit, while also deploying cubesats and auxiliary payloads, mounted on an EELV secondary payload adapter, at both insertion points.
These two missions will support the EELV certification process for both the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy. Falcon Heavy, the most powerful rocket in the world, is expected to take its first flight in the second half of 2013. Building on reliable flight proven architecture, the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles are designed for exceptional reliability, meeting the stringent U.S. Air Force requirements for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program.
SpaceX designs, manufactures, and launches the world's most advanced rockets and spacecraft. The company was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk to revolutionize space transportation, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets. Today, SpaceX is advancing the boundaries of space technology through its Falcon launch vehicles and Dragon spacecraft. SpaceX is a private company owned by management and employees, with minority investments from Founders Fund, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Valor Equity Partners. The company has more than 2,000 employees in California, Texas, Washington, D.C., and Florida. For more information, visit SpaceX.com.