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SpaceX lands a pair of plum US Air Force contracts for its Falcon rockets


SpaceX vehicles have proved themselves thus far to be highly capable cargo-toters for hungry astronauts aboard the ISS, and now the company's Falcon rockets have chalked up a couple of US Air Force missions, too. They'll participate in the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program, launching the Deep Space Climate Observatory in 2014 aboard a Falcon 9 and a DOD satellite in 2015 from a Falcon Heavy. Those missions are part of the USAF's Orbital/Suborbital Program-3, a competition pitting SpaceX against Orbital Sciences for up to $900 million worth of contracts. That puts Elon Musk's little venture in the catbird seat for the chance to compete against Boeing and Lockheed Martin for prime EELV contracts, backing up some of the CEO's recent trash-talk.

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