SpaceX launches first U.S. national security space mission

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FILE PHOTO: The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, scheduled to launch a U.S. Air Force navigation satellite, sits on Launch Complex 40 after the launch was postponed after an abort procedure was triggered by the onboard flight computer, at Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., December 18, 2018. REUTERS/Steve Nesius/File Photo

(Reuters) – A SpaceX rocket carrying a U.S. military navigation satellite blasted off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral on Sunday, marking the space transportation company’s first national security space mission for the United States.

The Falcon 9 rocket carrying a roughly $500 million GPS satellite built by Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) lifted off from Cape Canaveral at 8:51 a.m. local time (1351 GMT).

The successful launch is a significant victory for Elon Musk’s privately held rocket company, which has spent years trying to break into the lucrative market for military space launches dominated by Lockheed and Boeing Co (BA.N).

Reporting by Joseph Ax; Additional reporting by Eric M. Johnson and Gina Cherelus; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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