Elon Musk's SpaceX has launched the most powerful GPS satellite in the US Air Force ever built.
A SpaceX rocket carrying a US military navigation satellite departed Cape Canaveral, Fla., Marking the space shuttle's first national space shuttle mission to the United States.
The Falcon 9 rocket, which carries about $ 771 million from the GPS satellite built by Lockheed Martin, took off from Cape Canaveral at 0801 local time on Sunday.
Four previous releases scheduled last week, including one on Saturday, were canceled due to weather and technical problems.
The successful launch is a significant victory for private billionaire rocket maker Elon Musk, who spent years trying to enter the lucrative market for Lockheed-dominated military space launches and Boeing.
Heather Wilson, Air Force secretary, says that this next-generation GPS satellite is three times more accurate than previous versions and eight times better in anti-jamming.
It is the first of a series and nicknamed Vespucci after the fifteenth-century Italian explorer who calculated the circumference of the Earth in a radius of 80 kilometers.
SpaceX sued the US Air Force in 2014 over the military grant of a multi-billion dollar non-compete contract for 36 rocket launches to the United Launch Alliance, a partnership between Boeing and Lockheed. He dropped the suit in 2015 after the Air Force agreed to open the competition.
The following year, SpaceX won an Air Force $ 83 million contract to launch the GPS III satellite, which will have a 15-year life.
The satellite is the first to be released at 32 in production by Lockheed under contracts worth $ 12.6 billion for the Air Force GPS III program, according to Lockheed spokesman Chip Eschenfelder.
The launch was originally scheduled for 2014, but was hampered by delays in production, the Air Force said.
The next GPS III satellite is expected to be launched in mid-2019, according to Eschenfelder, while subsequent satellites undergo testing at the company's processing facility in Colorado.
ELON MUSK TUNNEL OF THE FUTURE
Elon Musk unveiled his underground transportation tunnel on Tuesday, allowing reporters and guests to take some of the first rides in the groundbreaking underground tube – the technology entrepreneur's response to what he calls "soul-destroying traffic."
Guests boarded Musk's Tesla Model S and walked the streets of the Los Angeles area, about a mile away, to O'Leary Station.
The station, right in the middle of a residential neighborhood – "basically in someone's backyard," Musk says – consists of a wallless elevator that slowly drove the car down a large shaft, about nine feet below the surface.
The sky fell slowly and the surprisingly narrow tunnel emerged.
"We are clear," said the driver, who sped up and entered the tunnel when a red stripe turned green, making the tube look like something from space or a dance club.
The car pushed significantly during the ride, which was bumpy enough to give a reporter nauseous while another shouted: "Woo!" Musk described his first tour as "epic."
"For me it was an eureka moment," he told a room full of reporters.
"I was like," This thing will work just fine.
He said the rides are bumpy now because "we ran out of time" and there were some issues with the speed of his paving machine.
"It will be good as glass," he said of future systems.
"This is just a prototype. That's why it's a bit rough on the edges. "
At the end of the day, Musk emerged from the tunnel in one of his cars.
He greeted guests and raised his fists in the air before giving a speech in the tunnel's green glow about technology and why it makes sense.
"Traffic is destroying the soul. It's like acid in the soul, "he told the guests who ate marshmallow treats and hot dogs and waited for a turn in the tunnel.
On Tuesday, he explained for the first time in detail how the system, which he simply calls the "loop," could run on a larger scale under cities around the world.
Autonomous electric vehicles could be placed in the system on wallless elevators, which could be placed almost anywhere the cars could reach.
The cars would have to be equipped with specially designed side wheels that would run perpendicular to the regular car tires and run along the tunnel track.
The cost for those wheels would be about $ 200 or $ 300 per car, Musk said.
A number of autonomous cars would remain within the tunnel system only for pedestrians and cyclists.
Once in the main arteries of the system, all cars could run at maximum speed, except when entering and exiting.
"It's much more like an underground road than a subway," Musk said.
The cars would have to be autonomous to work on the system, but not specifically at Teslas, and they would have to be electric because of the gas gases, Musk said.