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A Falcon 9 rocket carrying NASA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory, known as the DSCOVR mission, launches from Cape Canaveral AFS, Feb. 11, 2015. SpaceX photo.

The 45th Space Wing oversaw the launch of the first Air Force-procured SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket for a civil mission as a dry run ahead of the company's national security launch certification. "On-ramping a new launch vehicle provider is a major accomplishment and will help drive competition in the launch market, with the goal of driving down access-to-space costs for the US government," said Space and Missile Systems Center Commander Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves in a release. The launch of NASA and NOAA's Deep Space Climate Observatory from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., Feb. 11, was not a formal DOD launch-certification mission. Instead, SMC awarded the Falcon 9's purchase contract, coordinated industry and agency cooperation, validated mission standards, and oversaw the launch as a dress rehearsal for potential future SpaceX missions. The Air Force plans to certify the company as an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle provider by mid-year.