Under the contract, SpaceX is tasked with deploying 28 satellites for the U.S. Space Development Agency (SDA) atop a Falcon 9 rocket from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The agency states the satellites will be ready for deployment until 2022.
"The contract is to launch a mix of small and medium spacecraft of different sizes that the Space Development Agency is acquiring from multiple vendors. That includes 20 data-relay satellites known as the Transport Layer and the other eight are missile-warning satellites known as the Tracking Layer," SpaceNews reporter Sandra Erwin wrote.
The agency said it would select a provider that offered the “best value” based on several criteria such as price, schedule and past performance.
Meanwhile, Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk is "highly confident" that his company will have landed people on Mars by 2026.
“If we get lucky, maybe four years. We want to send an uncrewed vehicle there in two years. If things go super well, landing people on Mars might be kind of in the 10-year timeframe,” Musk stated.
The entrepreneur also added that SpaceX’s development of its Starship rocket was a key element in that process. It is supposed to launch cargo and as many as 100 people at a time.