SpaceX made its name by reusing rocket capsules, and almost all of the launches that followed have been a success. Even after SpaceX successfully launched the NASA Crew-2 using a refurbished capsule, one of the company’s customers is still insisting on using a new rocket for the launch. The concerned customer in question is the US military which keeps on insisting SpaceX for a new rocket capsule for launch. However, the scenario has changed now.
After SpaceX demonstrated the safety and reliability of the reusable rocket functioning without any glitch even after so many launches, the US military has finally conceded and agreed with SpaceX that the GPS III satellite could be launched using the refurbished rocket. After the US Space Force finished scrutinizing SpaceX’s various programs, the US Space Force has officially granted SpaceX approval on the eve of the launch of the GPS III SV05 satellite which would allow the space company to use a new rocket to launch.
However, the lower-level rocket used by SV05 is the same one as used on the GPS III SV04 satellite which took off in November last year. The rocket carrying the GPS III SV04 could be termed as the “queen” rocket of the space army since it was launched only once. Having said that, Walter Lauderdale, the deputy director of missions of the US Space Force, said that it has not yet been finalized as to which rocket must be used for their upcoming mission.
SpaceX and the US government signed a deal worth $470 million to launch 5 of the 6 GPS III satellites. Initially, the contract did not specify the use of refurbished rockets, but now it seems the Space Force is willing to amend the contract, and by doing so, they are looking at saving almost 65 USD.