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SpaceX Receives “GO” For Launch Of NASA’s Most Expensive And Complex Missions

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite lifts off. Photo: NASA

NASA has given SpaceX the “GO” to launch the agency’s most complex scientific missions on the private company’s Falcon 9 rocket.

NASA’s Launch Services Program is responsible for finding rockets to launch NASA spacecraft. LSP gave SpaceX a Category 3 Certification earlier this month, meaning it can launch the agency’s highest cost and most complex scientific missions.

“Certification is a major achievement for the Falcon 9 team and represents another key milestone in our close partnership with NASA,” said SpaceX Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell. “We are honored to have the opportunity to provide cost-effective and reliable launch services to the country’s most critical scientific payloads.”

SpaceX has launched other LSP missions using its Falcon 9 rocket, like the exoplanet hunting telescope TESS.

NASA looks at factors like probability of success when certifying rockets for the agency’s missions. The private company has launched over 60 successful missions since it was founded in 2002.

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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Are We There Yet?' Host

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration. Brendan is a native Floridian, born and raised in Broward County. He moved to ... Read Full Bio »