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SpaceX’s New Rocket Studied by Air Force, Delaying GPS Upgrades

  • Launch planned this month now will be in October at earliest
  • Block 5 rocket has stronger engines, retractable landing legs
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SpaceX Launches Rapid Reuse Falcon 9 Rocket

The U.S. Air Force has delayed the launch of its first Global Positioning System III satellite from this month to October at the earliest as it reviews the upgraded rocket that Elon Musk’s SpaceX plans to use to boost it into orbit.

The satellite valued at about $528 million would be launched on the latest version of the Falcon 9 rocket from Space Exploration Technologies Corp. The Block 5 rocket has more powerful engines, a stronger heat shield for the return trip through Earth’s atmosphere and new retractable landing legs.