US Air Force should certify SpaceX Falcon 9 by June 2015 and nearly halve the cost of launches

The Air Force expects to certify SpaceX by June to compete for launches, under an updated agreement. Once certified, Falcon 9 can compete for national security launches against ULA, the Boeing-Lockheed Martin team that currently has a monopoly.
The new agreement, announced May 8 by Air Force Space Command, clarifies that the commander of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center can certify SpaceX as long as the company has demonstrated its ability to design, produce, qualify and deliver the launch system. SpaceX must be able to provide future mission assurance support required to deliver national security payloads to specific orbits on schedule.
SpaceX should be certified and be able to compete for two launches this year, along with seven more in 2016 and 2017. The company, founded by PayPal founder Elon Musk, has already carried multiple payloads for NASA.
SpaceX COO Gwynne Shotwell promised in March that if the Air Force allowed SpaceX to bid on its launch contracts, SpaceX will put U.S. government satellites into space at a price much cheaper than ULA charges.
How much cheaper? According to a transcript of the proceedings, Shotwell told Congress it would cost "on the order of $80 million to $90 million" apiece to put a Falcon 9 rocket in low Earth orbit, or "$150 million to $160 million" to build and launch a Falcon Heavy (a Falcon 9 rocket with two additional boosters). Averaged across both rocket types, she put the cost at about $120 million.
In contrast, ULA charges taxpayers $400 million every time it launches a rocket into space. Commented Shotwell, "I don’t know how to build a $400 million rocket. … I don’t understand how ULA are as expensive as they are."