Elon Musk (the billionaire genius who helped inspire RDJ's Tony Stark) and his space transport company SpaceX just lined up their very first military contracts with the US Air Force. Oh, privatized aerospace — you're growing up so fast!
The U.S. Air Force will pay $97 million for a Falcon 9 rocket [pictured above, behind Musk] to launch in 2014 the Deep Space Climate Observatory, a solar telescope that will be operated by NASA. It will also pay $165 million for a Falcon Heavy rocket for the military's Space Test Program-2 satellite, which is expected to fly in 2015.
"SpaceX deeply appreciates and is honored by the vote of confidence shown by the Air Force in our Falcon launch vehicles," said Musk said in a statement.
As if this guy didn't have enough things to be full-bore, shit-eating-grin elated about these days. Between the USAF contracts; SpaceX's 12-flight, $1.6-billion dollar deal with NASA; its 20 scheduled commercial and non-U.S. government satellites and payloads; and Tesla Motors' (of which Musk is CEO) Model S being named Motor Trend's Car of the Year — dude probably feels like he's walking on Canis Majoris grade sunshine. Oh yeah, he also wants to send 80,000 people to Mars.