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June 15, 2021

SpaceX to reuse Falcon 9 rocket booster for GPS III SV05 launch

SpaceX has designed and manufactured Falcon 9 as a reusable, two-stage rocket.

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has allowed a reused SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket booster to lift off the US Space Force ‘s (USSF) fifth global positioning system (GPS 3 SV05) satellite.

The national security satellite is set for launch from Florida, US, on 17 June, marking another milestone in the GPS III programme for the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) and USSF.

The Falcon 9 was used to launch the GPS III SV04 satellite in November last year.

In a briefing on 14 June, USSF SMC deputy mission director Walter Lauderdal was quoted by CNBC as saying: “In preparation for this first-time event we’ve worked closely with SpaceX to understand the refurbishment processes and are confident that this rocket is ready for its next flight.”

He added: “We continue to work with [SpaceX] and, looking ahead to the SV06 mission next year … we’ll be working with them as to what boosters are available.

“We are certainly open to using other boosters not just ones that have flown [for Space Force ].

“Taken as a whole, our disciplined approach is part of an uncompromising dedication to mission success executed one launch at a time.”

So far, the US DoD has awarded SpaceX with five of the six GPS III satellite launch contracts valued at $469.8m.

The GPS III SV02 mission was the only one launched by United Launch Alliance (ULA).

The GPS III SV06, 07 and 08 satellites are fully assembled. They are undergoing environmental testing at the company’s GPS III Processing Facility in Denver.

GPS III SV09 and 10 are in the component build-up stage, noted the company.

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