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WASHINGTON, May 26 (Reuters) - The U.S. Air Force on Tuesday said it has certified privately-held SpaceX to launch U.S. military and spy satellites, ending a monopoly held by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co, since its creation in 2006.
The decision follows two years of discussions and reviews by the U.S. Air Force and Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, and means the company founded by entrepreneur Elon Musk, can compete for national security launches with its Falcon 9 rocket.
"SpaceX's emergence as a viable commercial launch provider provides the opportunity to compete launch services for the first time in almost a decade," said Air Force Secretary Deborah James. (Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Edtiting by Diane Craft)