A SpaceX rocket carrying a U.S. military navigation satellite blasted off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral on Sunday, marking the space transportation company’s first national security space mission for the United States.
The Falcon 9 rocket carrying a roughly $500 million GPS satellite built by Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) lifted off from Cape Canaveral at 8:51 a.m. local time (1351 GMT). Four previous scheduled launches in the last week, including one on Saturday, were canceled due to weather and technical issues.
The successful launch is a significant victory for billionaire Elon Musk’s privately held rocket company, which has spent years trying to break into the lucrative market for military space launches dominated by Lockheed and Boeing Co (BA.N).
SpaceX sued the U.S. Air Force in 2014 over the military’s award of a multibillion-dollar, non-compete contract for 36 rocket launches to United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Boeing and Lockheed. It dropped the lawsuit in 2015 after the Air Force agreed to open up competition.
The next year, SpaceX won an $83 million Air Force contract to launch the GPS III satellite, which will have a lifespan of 15 years.
The satellite is the first to launch out of 32 in production by Lockheed under contracts worth a combined $12.6 billion for the Air Force GPS III program, according to Lockheed spokesman Chip Eschenfelder.
The launch was originally scheduled for 2014 but has been hobbled by production delays, the Air Force said.
The next GPS III satellite is due to launch in mid-2019, Eschenfelder said, while subsequent satellites undergo testing in the company’s Colorado processing facility.
Additional reporting by Eric M. Johnson and Gina Cherelus; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Daniel Wallis
Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan to give up royal titles — ‘the hardest #Megxit possible’
Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will give up their royal titles and public funding as part of a settlement with the Queen to start a new life away from the British monarchy.
The historic announcement from Buckingham Palace on Saturday follows more than a week of intense private talks aimed at managing the fallout of the globetrotting couple's shock resignation from front-line royal duties.
It means Queen Elizabeth II's grandson Harry and his American TV actress wife Meghan will stop using the titles "royal highness" -- the same fate that befell his late mother Princess Diana after her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996.
GOP senator tells home-state press that impeachment trial must be ‘viewed as fair’: report
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) spoke to local reporters on Saturday about her role in the upcoming Donald Trump impeachment trial.
Murkowski explained she would likely vote with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on an initial vote on whether to allow witnesses. However, she left the door open to voting for witnesses after House impeachment managers make their opening case.
"I don't know what more we need until I have been given the base case," she said. "We will have that opportunity to say 'yes' or 'no' ... and if we say 'yes,' the floor is open."
Overall, Murkowski said it was important for the trial to been viewed as fair.
White House press secretary urged to do her job: ‘We don’t pay you to be a Twitter troll’
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham was blasted on Saturday over the confusion resulting from her refusal to hold daily press briefings.
CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy was alarmed that Grisham's assistant, Hogan Gidley, was forcing reporters to refer to his remarks as coming from a "sources close to the President's legal team."
Darcy noted that Trump had repeatedly questioned the veracity of unnamed sources, making it problematic for Gidley to demand to be quoted as such.
Grisham responded to the criticism and asked Darcy to "stop with the righteous indignation.