The U.S. Air Force has awarded a $4.25 million contract to SpaceX to perform “early integration studies of SpaceX’s launch vehicle Falcon 9 v1.1 and USAF space vehicles projected to launch as early as 2017.”
“The early integration studies are unique to each potential launch service provider and its own launch vehicle configuration,” according to the official notice from the Air Force. “SpaceX, as the sole owner and manufacturer of the Falcon 9 v1.1, possesses ‘unique capabilities’ for this requirement (studies) because the study is on SpaceX’s own unique launch vehicle. SpaceX possesses its own specific knowledge and resources of the launch vehicle it manufactures. With the unique capabilities, the study of the Falcon 9 v1.1 can only be satisfied by SpaceX.”
The contract award includes an option for an additional study.