DOD IG To Evaluate Air Force’s Certification of SpaceX’s Falcon Rockets

DOD IG To Evaluate Air Force’s Certification of SpaceX’s Falcon Rockets

The office of the DOD Inspector General (IG) sent a memo to Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson today informing her that it is beginning an evaluation of the Air Force’s certification of SpaceX’s Falcon rockets.  The memo was signed by the Deputy IG for Intelligence and Special Program Assessments, Michael J. Roark.

What prompted the review is not revealed in the brief memo, which simply informs Wilson and two other Air Force officials that it will begin this month and asks them to appoint a point of contact familiar with the issues.

Addressed to the Secretary of the Air Force,  the Commander of Air Force Space Command and the Auditor General of the Air Force, it begins:

No end date for the review is mentioned.

SpaceX competes with the United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing, for these Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) contracts.

The review covers both Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy.  The Air Force certified Falcon 9 for EELV launches in 2015.  The first Falcon 9 launch under the EELV contract, of a GPS III satellite, successfully took place in December 2018.

SpaceX conducted its first test flight of the Falcon Heavy rocket in February 2018 and in June the Air Force selected the Falcon Heavy to launch the Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) -52 satellite in 2020.

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