USAF Eyes June Decision on SpaceX Launch Service, Plans Next GPS Satellite Acquisition

rocket launchLt. Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, the U.S. Air Force deputy for acquisition, said the military branch expects to complete the process of certifying SpaceX‘s Falcon 9 rocket in June, Reuters reported Tuesday.

Pawlikowski told Andrea Shalal that she believes the Air Force could further leverage commercial launch services if the branch opens up competition in military satellite programs.

The service is also working with industry to analyze how adjustments in weapon technology requirements can help the U.S. military save money, Pawlikowski noted to Reuters.

Shalal wrote in a separate article published Wednesday the Air Force also aims to release a formal solicitation for the next set of Global Positioning System satellites in 2018.

David Madden, executive director of the Air Force Space and Missiles Systems Center, said during a Mitchell Institute-hosted forum that Defense Department officials are scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss a strategy to procure the 11th and succeeding GPS satellites, according to Reuters.

Lockheed Martin is the incumbent contractor on the program, but Madden told the publication that Boeing and Northrop Grumman want to compete for satellite development work.

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