SpaceX has won a huge $130-million contract to launch a classified mission from Kennedy Space Center’s launch pad 39A for the United States Air Force.
SpaceX was victorious in the bidding over United Launch Alliance for the 2020 mission which is called Air Force Space Command-52, or AFSPC-52.
“I want to thank the Air Force for certifying Falcon Heavy, awarding us this critically important mission, and for their trust and confidence in our company,” SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell said in a statement. “SpaceX is pleased to continue offering the American taxpayer the most cost-effective, reliable launch services for vital national security space missions.”
The mission will take place using SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket which has more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, and is the most powerful rocket flying today. By comparison, the liftoff thrust of the Falcon Heavy equals approximately eighteen 747 aircraft at full power.