Elon Musk’s SpaceX has won a $96.5 million contract to launch a military communications satellite.
The Hawthorne, Calif.-based rocket company will launch a GPS III broadband satellite under the U.S. Air Force contract, announced March 14.
The satellite is expected to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida by April 2019. Last April, SpaceX won an $82.7 million contract to launch a similar military communications satellite in 2018.
United Launch Alliance, which had also bid on the 2019 mission, is set to launch a different sort of military sat — one set to become part of the U.S. Defense Department’s Wideband Global SATCOM constellation — from Cape Canaveral on March 17.
SpaceX is the only company other than Centennial, Colo.-based ULA that’s certified for military-sat launches — and Musk’s outfit had to sue for the right to compete for such work. ULA is a 50-50 joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin.