The hot battle that took place in federal courtrooms and in the US Congress halls ended on Tuesday. The US Air Force will allow the Elon Musk SpaceX rocket company to launch military and reconnaissance satellites.
“We thank the Air Forces for trusting us and look forward to further beneficial cooperation,” said Musk, a well-known entrepreneur in the field of new technologies, who also works for the Tesla car company, the statement said.
"This important step will bring competition to the launch of national security satellites," he said.
SpaceX has long sought to launch its launching business.
It is already known that the company will fly with the cargo mission of NASA to the International Space Station. The company recently received approval from the US space agency to launch valuable scientific satellites, the first of which is scheduled to launch in July.
SpaceX is also planning commercial satellite launches. Since the Falcon 9 rocket was introduced in 2010, the company has registered 18 ideal rocket launches.
Musk has long been eyeing the launch of military satellites, but this profitable market is currently monopolized by the United Launch Alliance, in partnership with defense contractors Lockheed-Martin and Boeing.
Negotiations, reviews and lawsuits with the Air Force finally ended on Tuesday and confirmed that the military and national security satellites can indeed fly safely on the Falcon 9. "The emergence of SpaceX as a viable commercial provider makes it possible to compete in satellite launches for the first time in ten years," said Air Force Secretary Deborah James in a statement.
"Ultimately, attracting commercial companies to the space market leads to lower costs for American taxpayers and makes our military complex more flexible and sustainable," she said.
SpaceX's first opportunity to compete with the United Launch Alliance, may be presented early next month, when the Air Force will request applications for the supply of two satellites of the global positioning system to orbit.
As expected, such competition will reduce prices and give a military option to buy missiles with a domestic engine. The United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket uses a Russian-made engine that was procured under the current trade embargo arising from the Russian invasion of Ukraine last year. So far, SpaceX is the only company (except for the United Launch Alliance) certified for launches with a useful military load.
The SpaceX company is developing a heavyweight version of the Falcon rocket and notified the Air Force of its intentions to seek its certification. The company's long-term goal is to send a payload - and maybe someday a man - to Mars.