Space Exploration Technologies could submit a bid to the U.S. Air Force in pursuit of an upcoming contract to support a planned 2018 launch of a Global Positioning System III military satellite, DoD Buzz reported Friday.
Brendan McGarry writes the Air Force will gather proposals for GPS III satellite launch services under its Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program through Nov. 16 and is scheduled to award the contract by March 2015.
The U.S. Defense Department granted SpaceX national security launch certification in May for the company’s Falcon 9 rocket in an effort to reintroduce EELV competition.
Christian Davenport wrote in a separate report for the Washington Post that Lt. Cmdr. Courtney Hillson, a DoD spokesperson, said the department is evaluating whether to issue a waiver for continued use of RD-180 rocket engines to launch U.S. military satellites.
ULA uses the Russia-made engine technology in its Atlas V rockets and is seeking an exception from a congressional ban on engine imports as the company aims to continue to provide space launch services to DoD, the report said.