SpaceX Awarded Two EELV-Class Missions from the United States Air Force
The United States Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center has awarded SpaceX two Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV)-class missions: DSCOVR (Deep Space Climate Observatory) and STP-2 (Space Test Program 2). To be launched on SpaceX's Falcon launch vehicles in 2014 and 2015 respectively, the awards mark the first EELV-class missions awarded to the company to date.
The DSCOVR mission will be launched aboard a Falcon 9 and is currently slated for late 2014, while STP-2 will be launched aboard the Falcon Heavy and is targeted for mid-2015. Both are expected to launch from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) (formerly known as Triana, unofficially known as GoreSat) is a NASA satellite proposed in 1998 by then-Vice President Al Gore for the purpose of Earth observation.
The Bush Administration put the project on hold shortly after George W. Bush's inauguration.
Congress asked the National Academy of Sciences whether the project was worthwhile. The resulting report stated that the mission was "strong and scientifically vital."
Triana was removed from its original launch opportunity on STS-107 (the ill-fated Columbia mission in 2003). The $100 million satellite remained in storage for the duration of the Bush administration. In November 2008 the satellite was removed from storage and began recertification for a possible launch on board a Delta II or a Falcon 9.