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The US government has pots of money they use to buy flights on unproven rockets, that's how SpaceX got a contract for STP-2 as the 2nd flight of Falcon Heavy. Falcon 1's first two flights got some revenue from DARPA and the Air Force ORS, and flight 3 from NASA. (All failed.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcon_1#Launch_history




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