The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the exoplanet scanning satellite in transit rises. Photo: NASA
NASA has given SpaceX the "GO" to launch the agency's most complex scientific missions on the company's Falcon 9 rocket.
NASA's Launch Services Program is responsible for finding rockets to launch spacecraft from NASA. LSP awarded SpaceX a Category 3 Certification earlier this month, which means it can launch the highest cost and the most complex scientific missions of the agency.
"Certification is an important achievement for the Falcon 9 team and represents another key milestone in our close partnership with NASA," said SpaceX Operations Director Gwynne Shotwell. "We are honored to have the opportunity to provide reliable and cost-effective launch services to the most critical scientific payload in the country."
SpaceX has launched other LSP missions using its Falcon 9 rocket, such as the TESS exoplanet hunting telescope.
NASA analyzes factors such as the probability of success in certifying rockets for the agency's missions. The private company has launched more than 60 successful missions since its founding in 2002.