The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center is buying two more GPS III satellites from Lockheed Martin for $395 million, the Pentagon announced Sept. 21. The GPS III Space Vehicles 9 and 10 satellites are expected to launch in 2022, according to a release. United Launch Alliance is scheduled to launch the first GPS III satellite in May 2017, and SpaceX is scheduled to launch the second in May 2018, but it’s not clear if the recent explosion of the company’s Falcon 9 rocket will cause delays. Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman are competing to build the 11th GPS III space vehicle.
Reports of production troubles on the SpaceX rocket that could contend for military cargo deliveries happened to coincide with a different company’s concept receiving an early nod—one that might not require a rocket at all.