US: SpaceX has gotten closer to being certified to launch military and national security satellites. SpaceX has been seeking an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) certification since June 2013, according to the Air Force Space Command. The command’s Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) and SpaceX signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, setting certification requirements that SpaceX must pass in order to be considered for launching critical and high-cost National Security Space (NSS) payloads. Military and intelligence satellites tend to be larger than commercial satellites.
SpaceX’s rocket, the Falcon 9 v1.1, must also pass several technical reviews and audits, as well as independent verification and validation of the launch vehicle’s manufacturing processes and ground systems. The Falcon 9 series is designed as a two-stage rocket for transporting satellites and the Dragon spacecraft into orbit – and eventually to carry astronauts in the future. According to SpaceX, the two-stage configuration reduces the number of separation events, allowing the vehicles to complete missions in spite of engine shutdowns. The rocket has been used to launch commercial and research satellites, as well as delivering and returning cargo to the International Space Station on behalf of NASA.
Source: Defense systems