The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will now be able to launch satellites and other national security payload for the US government, after receiving US Air Force certification.
The certification could help break a stranglehold on the United Launch Alliance, a nine-year-old space venture created by Boeing and Lockheed Martin. SpaceX is muscling its way into conducting launches for NASA and Department of Defense, so it will be interesting to see how ULA responds in the future.
"SpaceX's emergence as a viable commercial launch provider provides the opportunity to compete launch services for the first time in almost a decade," said Deborah Lee James, Air Force Secretary, in a statement. "Ultimately, leverage of the commercial space market drives down cost to the American taxpayer and improves our military's resiliency."
SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk had to drag the US government into court to help get the deal done, after the Air Force automatically handed ULA a multi-billion-dollar contract.