December 7, 2012
On Wednesday, Space Exploration announced that the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center has awarded it not one, but two separate Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) contracts. First in 2014, and then in 2015, SpaceX will assist in conducting first the DSCOVR (Deep Space Climate Observatory) and then the STP-2 (Space Test Program 2) missions, launching each aboard the company's privately developed Falcon launch vehicles. Financial terms were not disclosed.
These missions will be the first EELV contracts ever awarded to SpaceX. Moreover, they will be the first contracts awarded by USAF to anyone other than the Boeing (NYSE: BA ) and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT ) joint venture "United Launch Alliance," since ULA was formed . USAF made the awards as part of the Orbital/Suborbital Program-3 (OSP-3), which was designed to attract new entrants to the business of running space launches for the military, and creating competition with ULA.
In a statement, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said: "SpaceX deeply appreciates and is honored by the vote of confidence shown by the Air Force in our Falcon launch vehicles."
SpaceX was the first non-state actor to successfully launch a rocket into space and orbit the Earth. It was founded by Musk, a former co-founder of PayPal, and the founder and CEO of Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA ) .