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SpaceX wins $96.5 million contract to launch Air Force satellite

In this image from NASA TV, the SpaceX Falcon rocket launches from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. It's carrying a load of supplies for the International Space Station.

NASA

By SAMANTHA MASUNAGA | The Los Angeles Times (Tribune News Service) | Published: March 14, 2017

LOS ANGELES — SpaceX has won a $96.5 million contract to launch a GPS satellite for the U.S. Air Force.

The Hawthorne, Calif. space company is scheduled to launch the GPS III satellite in February 2019 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The satellite will provide better anti-jamming capabilities and improved accuracy for precision navigation and timing, according to the Air Force.

SpaceX was certified by the Air Force in 2015 to launch national security satellites, breaking up a longtime and lucrative monopoly held by a joint venture of Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. called United Launch Alliance.

Last year, SpaceX won its first national security satellite launch contract, which was worth $82.7 million. At that time, United Launch Alliance did not bid on the contract.

A Department of Defense contract notice released Tuesday said two offers were received for the most recent GPS satellite bid.

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©2017 Los Angeles Times
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