NASA Certifies SpaceX's Falcon 9 Rockets For Science Missions Written 20 February 2018

SPACE reports that NASA has certified the “current version of the SpaceX Falcon 9” to launch selected categories of science missions. NASA “disclosed the certification in its full fiscal year 2019 budget proposal, released Feb. 14, in a section about NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP).” The budget stated that SpaceX had successfully completed “Category 2” certification for the Falcon 9 “Full Thrust,” which “supports the launch of the NASA Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission in March 2018.” NASA spokesperson Cheryl Warned confirmed Category 2 certification had been received for the rocket. Category 2 certification covers “medium risk” missions, and requires between one to three successful missions to qualify for the missions, “depending on the vehicle’s heritage and level of NASA insight.” The LSP is also conducting “preliminary activities” for certifying the Orbital ATK Antares launch vehicle, according to the documents. The program has also “started certification discussions regarding vehicles still in development, including Blue Origin’s New Glenn, Orbital ATK’s Next General Launch and United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan.”
More Info (SPACE)