SpaceX, the rocket company founded by Elon Musk has launched a brand new GPS satellite for the United States military. Christened as Vespucci, after the famed Italian explorer and cartographer, the satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida. It was carried to orbit by the company’s Falcon 9 rocket, a 2 stage rocket that can carry payloads of up to 50,000 lb. After winning a contract from NASA, SpaceX won the National Security Space contract with the United States air force and this launch was a result of that. The company intends to launch four additional GPS satellites in the coming years.
GPS (Global Positioning System) is owned by the United States government and operated by the Air Force. Providing positioning and timing information to the average public, GPS is used by billions of people and is also leveraged many companies that are into e-commerce, food delivery, ride-hailing, and others. The new satellites are built by Lockheed Martin, one of the world’s largest military contractors, and are said to provide a degree of accuracy that is three times higher and will feature significantly higher anti-jamming capacities.
This has been a good year for the rocket company, which has now completed 21 launches this year, upped from 18 last year. After the latest round of funding of $500 million, SpaceX is now valued at little over $30 billion.