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​An artist's concept of the next-generation GPS III global position system satellite in orbit above the Earth. Air Force graphic.

​SpaceX will launch the second GPS III satellite in May 2018. The Air Force on Wednesday awarded the first competitively sourced National Security Space launch services contract to SpaceX; the firm-fixed price contract is valued at $82.7 million. The contract award “achieves a balance between mission success, meeting operational needs, lowering launch costs,” and reintroducing competition into NSS missions, Space and Missile Systems Center Commander Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves said in a written release. Under the terms of the contract, SpaceX will be responsible for launch vehicle production, mission integration, launch operations, and spaceflight certification for the GPS III satellite. The Pentagon Inspector General in March launched an investigation into United Launch Alliance, after ULA failed to bid for the GPS III contract and a ULA employee said the company wanted to avoid a “cost shoot-out.” That employee later resigned.