On 21 June, The United States Air Force (USAF) announced that they had awarded the launch of the classified, AFSPC-52 mission to SpaceX. This mission will utilise the SpaceX Falcon Heavy vehicle and is planned for “late in the fiscal year 2020”.

This award marks a milestone for SpaceX as it is the first time their own Super-Heavy vehicle has beaten the incumbent Delta-IV Heavy for a launch contract. The contract value is reported to be worth US$130 million, significantly less than what it is believed the Delta-IV Heavy costs to launch – circa US$350 million.

Falcon Heavy launches into orbit on its maiden flight February 2018. Courtesy: NASA/Kim Shiflett