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Elon Musk  (Source: wired.com)
Lockheed said SpaceX is inexperienced and is cutting corners by cutting costs

SpaceX is the underdog that proved a private company can rise to the occasion and send a rocket into space, but can it step up and transform the Air Force as well?

Lockheed Martin and Boeing have had a strong hold on the Air Force's launch missions for the last six years. But last month, the Defense Department instructed the Air Force to find a new contractor to break the launch monopoly in an attempt to cut costs. In early December, it was announced that SpaceX was selected for trial missions.

SpaceX scored a $900 million contract with the Air Force for two launch missions in 2014 and 2015. The trial missions will test to see if SpaceX can successfully carry military and spy satellites.

As expected, Lockheed Martin and Boeing, which are partnered in a venture called the United Launch Alliance (ULA), are not too happy about it. They took a few jabs at SpaceX's inexperience in both space launches and in the military.

"I'm hugely pleased with 66 [successful missions] in a row from ULA, and I don't know the record of SpaceX yet," said Robert Stevens, chairman and chief executive at Lockheed Martin. "Two in a row?"

Lockheed Martin also took a stab at the Department of Defense's search for cheaper alternatives to ULA, saying that cutting corners will have poor results.

“Cost doesn’t matter at all if you don’t put the ball into orbit,’’ said Stevens. “You can thrift on cost. You can take cost out of a rocket. But I will guarantee you, in my experience, when you start pulling a lot of costs out of a rocket, your quality and your probability of success in delivering a payload to orbit diminishes.’’

SpaceX Elon Musk fired back, saying that "All of SpaceX's Falcon 9 missions have reached orbit and completed all primary mission objectives." As far as costs go, Musk said that SpaceX's equipment is cheaper because it contains better technology.

“The fundamental reason SpaceX’s rockets are lower cost and more powerful is that our technology is significantly more advanced than that of the Lockheed-Boeing rockets, which were designed last century," said Musk.

The ULA’s Delta 4 and Atlas 5 rockets cost about $464 million per launch, more than double a previous estimate of $230 million.

SpaceX stepped in with its Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket as a means to send supplies (and eventually astronauts) to the International Space Station (ISS) after NASA retired its space shuttle fleet in 2011. This left American astronauts with no way to the ISS except aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket, but these seats became very costly.

SpaceX launched its Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket to the ISS for the first time back in May for a test supply run. After that successful trip, SpaceX and NASA signed a $1.6 billion contract that allows SpaceX to complete 12 supply trips to the ISS and back.

On October 7, SpaceX made its first official supply run as part of that contract. It arrived October 10, making the trip a success.

Dragon is due to make its second run in January 2013. SpaceX is also looking to send the first manned Dragon capsule to the ISS somewhere between 2015 and 2017.


SpaceX is also making huge strides in the use of reusable rockets with its new Grasshopper Project. The Grasshopper Project is a Falcon first stage with a landing gear that's capable of taking off and landing vertically.



Source: The Washington Post



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The Sin
By MFranklin on 12/26/2012 6:03:00 PM , Rating: 5
Lockheed is crumpled because the new kid on the block didn't play the game of soaking Uncle Sam.
ULA is a good example of what happens when competition is removed between competing firms (Boeing and Lockheed). On the flip, SpaceX proves the value of that competition by way of producing a good product at a better price.
Let ULA cry... they'll be forced to work in the free market and not the closed one.




RE: The Sin
By spread on 12/26/2012 7:00:19 PM , Rating: 5
Lockheeed Martin wants a free market when it works in their favor and special treatment when it's not in their favor.

I believe what we are witnessing is a corporate tantrum. Someone call them a wambulance.


RE: The Sin
By Schadenfroh on 12/26/2012 9:33:38 PM , Rating: 1
Defense contracts are not exactly what I'd call free market...

*Profit margins are capped
*Government controls who your "customers" are
*MASSIVE amounts of restrictions, red-tape, paperwork, etc. especially for classified work, but unclassified export controlled paperwork can be epic (OK, that is not really applicable to a free market debate, but quite annoying)

On the plus side, the government tends to pay for most of the expenses, so there is less "risk" for the company.


RE: The Sin
By Samus on 12/26/2012 10:48:24 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry, profit margins are capped?

The definition of a military contract is the same as an 'insurance job' on a collision repair of a vehicle.

milk, milk, milk...


RE: The Sin
By Schadenfroh on 12/27/2012 12:13:37 AM , Rating: 3
Well that was a rather blanket statement as margins for "fixed-price" contracts, which are typical in the commercial, world are not capped and sometimes apply to defense contracts as well.

Defense contracts are, for the most part, "cost-plus" contracts and behave more or less as described in my OP:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost-plus_contract


RE: The Sin
By SAnderson on 12/27/2012 12:59:18 PM , Rating: 2
But who determines the product's actual 'cost'? They could easily say the 'cost' is higher than what it really should be in a free market to increase revenue/profit.


RE: The Sin
By StevoLincolnite on 12/26/2012 11:14:37 PM , Rating: 4
Profits aren't capped.

If you can make your product cheaper and still sell the same amount, you get more profit.

Besides it's been proven all through history that companies can innovate more and produce items that are cheaper than government controlled bureaucratic wasteful companies.

Plus who says that they will only profit from the government? Internet providers and other companies could *invest* and get Satellites into space, which means they would improve on their technology and hopefully ends up being ultimately cheaper. - Which means less taxpayer dollars spent in the end.

I say bring on the competition! We might end up setting foot on Mars one day because of it.


RE: The Sin
By 3minence on 12/27/2012 9:25:25 AM , Rating: 2
Incredible the lack of understanding some of you display. Its either one way or another, it's black or white, never grey. Yet the real world is full of grey. SpaceX doesn't have a lot of experience and maturity in what it does. Its new, with cool ideas and a desire to experiment. It will make mistakes, it will loose rockets and payloads. It will learn and mature and get better.

Lockheed and Boeing have lots of experience. Their rockets are proven, and they take few risks. What they do they do very well. Because they are risk averse they stopped improving. They've become stagnant, and top heavy with expensive ex generals/admirals. They play the contractor game and do quite well for themselves.

Who's right and who's wrong? SpaceX will be cheaper and more innovative, but they will loose rockets and payloads. ULA will be more reliable, but they won't get much better or cheaper. Such is life.


RE: The Sin
By Cheesew1z69 on 12/27/2012 12:51:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
SpaceX will be cheaper and more innovative, but they will loose rockets and payloads.
As the others can as well....


RE: The Sin
By Samus on 12/30/2012 10:43:27 AM , Rating: 2
and nobody wants a rocket on the loose!


RE: The Sin
By FaaR on 12/27/2012 1:09:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
*Profit margins are capped

So YOU say. :) Even if true, budgets aren't necessarily capped however, as the miserable F35 for example has shown, so even with a fixed margin a contractor can vampire more and more corporate profits out of the taxpayers simply by letting costs balloon out of all proportions.


RE: The Sin
By kattanna on 12/27/2012 10:02:23 AM , Rating: 2
LOL.. kinda funny seeing how butthurt they are over a couple of test missions.

will be interesting to see the crying if they actually succeed.


costs
By Khenglish on 12/27/2012 2:32:15 AM , Rating: 1
So Lockheed seems to think that SpaceX needs to waste much more money to be successful:

http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_19716485

http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/news/press-releas...

http://www.spacecolorado.org/news/lockheed-martin-...$163M-to-keep-orion-going.html (I cannot make link work on click unfortunately)

First test launch won't be until 2014, and 4B has been spent so far with over 2B left to go. After the 6B+ on development, NASA will then have to pay more to even use Orion. My favorite is that Lockheed would have cancelled the program if they weren't handed an extra 163M due to their amazing ability to throw money away. It's called a fucking contract.

SpaceX did a crewless launch of their version of Orion back in May:

http://www.dailytech.com/SpaceXs+Dragon+Capsule+Re...

Their contract was for 1.6B, which includes the actual use of the Dragon. They stayed within budget and got the job done. Lookheed-Martin's problem isn't that they think SpaceX is spending too little to succeed, their problem is that SpaceX does such a good job that there is no reason for NASA to contract anyone else.




RE: costs
By Gurthang on 12/27/2012 9:26:22 AM , Rating: 2
To be fair the dragon capsule they have been sending up to the ISS is just a robot cargo container with the ability to dock to the ISS.

Orion is ment to be used for far more than that and is from the start designed as a "man rated" vehicle to be potentially used outside earth's orbit so is always going to be more expensive. You know that whole redundant life support, crew controls, and higher spec saftey and recovery systems don't come free.

Mind you the fancy ultra-lightweight alloys they are building Orion from don't seem to be doing as well as hoped which is kind of sad. So who knows the whole thing could turn out a bust.


RE: costs
By trclark81 on 12/27/2012 10:47:54 AM , Rating: 2
The Dragon capsule has also been designed from the start as a man-rated capsule. Musk has stated repeatedly since 2002 that his intent was to develop a manned vehicle for Beyond Earth Orbit function and SpaceX has designed all of their rockets and capsules with precisely that in mind. The ISS cargo resupplies are and have always been a budgetary means to a crewed end. Without manned Dragon down the road, there would have been no cargo Dragon. Period.


RE: costs
By Gurthang on 12/27/2012 11:32:19 AM , Rating: 2
I would instead argue that the cargo dragon is a simplier product designed to test necessary systems that will be eventually used in the manned module in LEO and later farther and farther out as the launch vehicles get better and more powerfull. But that it at this point is not an Orion capsule or even a Soyouz so costs of them and the rockets used to launch them (planned or otherwise) are not comparible.

I have no doubt SpaceX plans to keep going further and have designs in the works to do so but until they are actually building functional (not engineering mock-ups) and doing real testing with their man rated designs the costs and ability to get there is still a big ?.

As to the necessity of a manned dragon for there to be a cargo version... BS.. SpaceX for all of its founder's Sci/Fi spaceflight dreams is first and formost a profit driven company. What had to come before any dragon capsule made it past the powerpoint stage was a way to make money. If there was not already some real or precieved need from NASA there is no way SpaceX would have gone this far with the Dragon system. Musk has money to burn but rockets burn money very very fast.

In the end I am excited for them and wish them nothing but luck.


RE: costs
By trclark81 on 12/27/2012 11:39:28 AM , Rating: 2
I would suggest the same is true of the mockup-only Orion.


RE: costs
By trclark81 on 12/27/2012 11:50:02 AM , Rating: 2
As true as your comment is regarding demand driving supply, I don't think the cargo Dragon would have been built without the plan for a manned capsule, regardless of the demand for cargo-only. Despite the profit motive, SpaceX, and all of it's rockets, owe their existance to Musk's vision regardless of the path or motive taken to get there. Cargo-only was definitely a necessary means to an end, but even the powerpoints wouldn't have been made without the path to manned.

In short, you are absolutely right, but your argument doesn't actually refute mine, merely augments it in a way I already addressed.


RE: costs
By Gurthang on 12/28/2012 8:11:38 AM , Rating: 2
Actually my point was that while Musk's goals hava always been to fufil his childhood spaceflight dreams and I believe he has stated that numerous times. But those expensive dreams ride on the back of the sucess of the launch and cargo missions. Musk if all he wanted was to pretend once to be an astronaut he could of just bought a ticket to the ISS from the Russians and been done with it. The real test will come once dragon and falcon have met all of their goals can they be profitable enough to expand into far riskier and smaller markets. Will he find the money needed to continue to expand the designs beyond earth orbit, that Bigelow space hotel, or moon base?

Where I have my doubts is with projects like "grasshopper". Maybe I'm wrong but it seems far more efficient to me at least to use computer controled parachutes to get that first stage back or at least use them to slow and control decent enough to reduce the fuel needed for the landing. Every pound is precious on a rocket.


RE: costs
By Guspaz on 12/27/2012 12:14:10 PM , Rating: 2
Dragon was designed from the ground-up as a manned spacecraft, to the point that its heat shield is designed to survive re-entry velocities from lunar or martian return trajectories. The cargo flights are definitely "pay the bills" missions, but they're also effective unmanned tests of a manned spacecraft; they give SpaceX a ton of data and test a lot of systems that will be used on the manned variant. In the mean time, they've done extensive testing on a 30 man-day life support system, and are expected to test an abort system (based on upgraded RCS thrusters rather than a separate system) before the end of 2013.

One important difference between Dragon and Orion is that Dragon has actually been to orbit and back three times, while Orion isn't even going to go to orbit until 2014. Dragon is expected to have its first manned mission by mid 2015, while Orion isn't planning any crewed missions before 2019. The point is that Orion doesn't actually exist yet, while Dragon has multiple unmanned tests under its belt. It's also currently the only spacecraft capable of returning significant amounts of cargo from orbit safely, since Soyuz doesn't have any real cargo capacity beyond the passengers.

They're not really intended for the same sort of thing anyhow. Dragon is designed for deep-space flight, but in practice it's going to be used primarily for getting to and from LEO, such as servicing the ISS (it's expected to cost about a third as much per seat as a Soyuz). Orion is meant strictly for deep-space missions, and would be insane overkill for delivering crew to LEO. Barring any success from CCiCap (where NASA is funding Sierra Nevada, SpaceX, and Boeing to develop manned capabilities), NASA intends to continue using Soyuz to deliver crew to the ISS, regardless of Orion's status.


RE: costs
By Gurthang on 12/28/2012 9:45:40 AM , Rating: 2
I agree Dragon is cool and has lots of great ideas and potential, it'll be interesting to see how the various systems do as they are tested and refined. I am always a little worried for these and other up and comming companies that space flight is rather unforgiving and that it took NASA a lot of painfull experiece to learn how to do it, I'd hate to see this new rush of optimism and growth in the industry crushed by some small mistake/oversight. But for now it is nice to see what can be done when a company/group has a clear goal, vision, and the money to execute it. It is even more refressing to see a solid business plan.

As to Orion, we'll see I don't get the hate for it by so many here. But whatever I just hope we get to use it for something inspiring I'd love to take my son to see the launch.

Now if someone could make a next gen spacesuit that uses mechanical/elastic force to maintain pressure rather than the fancy air bags we make now... but anyway I digress.


RE: costs
By trclark81 on 12/28/2012 12:35:52 PM , Rating: 2
I think the Orion situation is not so much a hate thing as a reaction to some of the critical comments about Dragon and other commercial companies. Quite often the criticisms leveled against the private ventures are equally or even more so applicable to Orion (running behind, more expensive, hasn't flown yet, etc).

It doesn't make it a bad spacecraft. Heck, in my opinion it was the one and only thing that should have survived the expiration of Constellation. I was thrilled when everything else was circular filed and Orion was kept.

The SLS issue is the same, though slightly lesser magnitude, as Ares. It's bigger than it needs to be for its intended mission (see Augustine, et al), it costs more than it should, and it will take forever and a day to build. That's not Orion's fault. If Orion had a functional launcher it could fly in relatively short order.

That said, I want SLS to succeed because I do see a benefit to an wholly-owned NASA rocket with eyes firmly toward BEO. But I think it could have been done in a better fashion than the 'everything for everyone' approach it was built under that caused so many problems with STS. In short I fully believe SLS is the rocket congress wants, not necessarily the one NASA wants for the job.

But, back to the point, Orion hasn't flown yet and won't before manned Dragon. And it is being built by Lockheed which has built exactly as many manned space vehicles as SpaceX (read 0). It is more expensive and it is over initial time estimates. And so naturally when someone starts on a litany of all the risks and problems with Falcon/Dragon, the first reaction of those who support it is to point out the exact same flaws in SLS/Orion. But I think they should both be built. I just think the debate needs to fairly note the benefits and flaws of both systems instead of pointing out one system's flaws in a vacuum.


RE: costs
By Visual on 12/29/2012 5:56:56 AM , Rating: 2
The link you didn't know how to escape properly:
http://www.spacecolorado.org/news/lockheed-martin-...
($ should have been %24)


I Would Only Note...
By mmatis on 12/27/2012 9:21:13 AM , Rating: 2
that SpaceX record of successful launches is NOT that great, and that the satellites the military launches are irreplaceable. United Launch Alliance - which was formed at the request of the DoD who wanted assured access to space (using launch vehicles with differing architecture to make sure that access would still be available in the event of a launch failure by one of the vehicles) understands that. It is not clear that SpaceX does. It is truly special that the DoD would effectively FORCE Lockheed Martin and Boeing to merge into ULA to get that assured access, and now throw bucks at SpaceX without demanding the same level of performance from them.




RE: I Would Only Note...
By trclark81 on 12/27/2012 10:56:22 AM , Rating: 2
First, every single one of the rockets ULA flies had significant issues in the early days of their development. Some of that development went under different names and was conducted for different reasons than what they are used for today, but problems they most assuredly had. And no one who knows a thing about the history rockets is under any illusion that the first few flights will be smooth sailing. Indeed the fact that every Falcon 9 flight has had primary mission success and several have had total mission success is, in comparison with nearly every other rocket family flying, a pretty solid record. It certainly isn't an indication of carelessness on the part of SpaceX. It only doesn't seem that way because we haven't seen a totally new rocket fly in this country since before the iron curtain fell.

Lockheed, Boeing, and ULA have a point in that it is still a somewhat untested rocket and the Air Force is taking some risk in buying those services, but the risk is strictly that of the unknown and not a function, in any way, of carelessness on the part of SpaceX or the Air Force.


RE: I Would Only Note...
By Gurthang on 12/27/2012 12:05:11 PM , Rating: 2
ULA was formed by LM and Boeing to save costs because they felt at the time if they both competed against eachother for the next gen rocket contracts the DoD, NASA, NSA, etc. wanted, whoever lost would likely have to get out of the rocket business because they would never be able to recoup the development costs with the commerical market alone. So they joined forces under the ULA name, consolidated production facilities, engineering staff, and after a slightly rocky start have been executing very well. And to boot both comainies retain rights to their Atlas and Delta systems outside the ULA. THough I'm not exactly sure why they continue with the two designs but whatever. SO not exactly the government forcing them, just a practical reality of the rocket business.

I agree though that SpaceX has some more to prove but at least on paper their ideas sound solid so we will have to see if they can not just do the job and make a good profit, but keep up the perfection once things have become status-quo.


RE: I Would Only Note...
By FaaR on 12/27/2012 1:05:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
whoever lost would likely have to get out of the rocket business because they would never be able to recoup the development costs with the commerical market alone.

SpaceX has already shown that to be a canard. Naturally, they figured they'd be better able to milk the US gov't if they went in cahoots, rather than fighting each other over contracts.

The vastly inflated dollar sums spent on a not even nearly finished Orion capsule, compared to SpaceX's Dragon - which is flying right now, as we all know - shows this to be absolute truth.

It's not so much that they simply couldn't survive on their own - cue corporate crocodile tears here - they did in fact survive on their own up until ULA, after all.


RE: I Would Only Note...
By Gurthang on 12/28/2012 8:50:46 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
SpaceX has already shown that to be a canard. Naturally, they figured they'd be better able to milk the US gov't if they went in cahoots, rather than fighting each other over contracts.

While I can't refute what you are saying, I would rather assume that the expense is more from corporate inertia in an area where reliability is more important than cost. I expect if SpaceX can show their design and company can make their system both cheaper and just as reliable, I think you'll see a fire lit under ULA's bottom. LM and Boeing have some amazing engineers all it takes is the higher-ups to finally realize they need to start investing in new designs finally.

quote:
The vastly inflated dollar sums spent on a not even nearly finished Orion capsule, compared to SpaceX's Dragon - which is flying right now, as we all know - shows this to be absolute truth


Lets be honest here Orion was in development hell with no clear goal and funding under constant threat, so no doubt there has been lots of waste. They also chose to use some new stuff which is sounding like it is not as good or easy as first hoped. Yay science and engineering! We are learning something new by trying something new!

Also the cargo dragons that have flown are not the crewed dragon.. they will share many things but Musk has not flown anything "man rated" yet. That time will come no doubt. My big concern for Orion is with the scrapping of prior launch system plans there is no candle for this cake. I've seen talk about man-rating one of the larger ULA rockets or using some shuttle derived heavy launch rocket but I have not seen much action in either direction there.


RE: I Would Only Note...
By trclark81 on 12/28/2012 12:51:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
While I can't refute what you are saying, I would rather assume that the expense is more from corporate inertia in an area where reliability is more important than cost... LM and Boeing have some amazing engineers all it takes is the higher-ups to finally realize they need to start investing in new designs finally.


Well put. Using the rockets we have now, ad nauseum, on the sole basis of reliability will only result in delivering the space program we have now. The funny thing is that NASA and the USSR's problem in the 50's and 60's was that they were far too careless. It got the job done, but there were a lot of unnecessary risks taken (particularly with Russian designs). But the 70's and 80's reaction to all of that was to close the loop to nearly any risk (from an engineering standpoint) by simply not doing anything new. I think the real answer is somewhere in the middle. SpaceX' real success is not a rocket system or a capsule, but showing that there is, in fact, a middle path where we can be safe and reliable, while not being scared to try something new.

quote:
Also the cargo dragons that have flown are not the crewed dragon.. they will share many things but Musk has not flown anything "man rated" yet.


Cargo Dragon is missing only three components vital to become Manned Dragon, seats, life support, and an escape system. Those problems have all largely been solved in blueprint and many are well on their way through testing. The instrument controls on board were a courtesy to the astronauts who would rather not be just 'spam in a can' as it was put in the Apollo days. In reality, even the first two aren't any more than short term barriers. It's the escape system that's the bottle-neck, and Musk has said precisely that even prior to Dragon test flight 1.


SpaceX a bit arrogant?
By Rob94hawk on 12/26/2012 10:08:14 PM , Rating: 2
“The fundamental reason SpaceX’s rockets are lower cost and more powerful is that our technology is significantly more advanced than that of the Lockheed-Boeing rockets, which were designed last century," said Musk.

How does SpaceX know this? I wouldn't be over confident especially after Lockheed's skunkworks projects. Their chemical rockets MIGHT be a bit more advanced but in reality they're still using technology derived from the early 20th century. If you're going to brag about being more advanced than someone that's been around for almost a century then you'd better be using technology that could shock the world like high powered ion engines. Till then no one is impressed.




RE: SpaceX a bit arrogant?
By JediJeb on 12/27/2012 12:09:52 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
you'd better be using technology that could shock the world like high powered ion engines. Till then no one is impressed.


I am rather impressed with their work on the Grasshopper project of reusable/landable first stages. It may not be as feasible for Earth use yet but for landing and returning large payloads from the moon it could be highly valuable. High powered ion engines will not be worth working on until the bans are lifted on using nuclear power plants to run them. No use in SpaceX dumping money into something they may never be able to use, let academic researchers and NASA follow what are currently money pits. If that ban is lifted though, then it might make economic sense for SpaceX to pursue Ion or Nuclear rocket technology.


RE: SpaceX a bit arrogant?
By Gurthang on 12/27/2012 9:13:45 AM , Rating: 2
ULA is just modified ICBM tech. I'm sure there has been the typical slow incremental refinement mostly I bet to improve profit margins and lower risks but without Space-X to kick them in the butt they would continue like that until fored to change.

Straight up ion drive is not going to get you into orbit. Even vasmir and the newer plasma drive concepts while theoreticaly able to produce the required thrust levels there is no powerplant powerfull enough and light enough to produce the gigawatts necessary even if there was no restrictions on nukes in space. And while beamed power could help again we have nothing even close to the power levels necessary.

Personaly I would love to see some next gen stuff, maybe a large hypersonic scramjet/shcramjet plane launched from a long linear induction maglev rail and when at LEO orbit launch whatever it is you want in a higher orbit. The big problem with hypersonics and rail launch systems is size and time. Hypersonics spend too much time accelerating in the atomosphere and experience insane amounts of heating from air friction which may not ever be solved well enought to make it usefull in a re-usable launch vehicle. And launch rails require a crap ton of space which limit where you can build them and increase the costs greatly.


RE: SpaceX a bit arrogant?
By trclark81 on 12/27/2012 11:01:30 AM , Rating: 2
It's funny that you take SpaceX to task for their comment but give Boeing a pass on their assumption that SpaceX is cutting corners. I've seen little evidence to support that claim and plenty to oppose it.


Sour Grapes?
By RufusM on 12/26/2012 5:16:41 PM , Rating: 2
Lockheed and Boeing need some challenging in this area. They've done some incredible work, but this sounds like SpaceX may take a little work from them.




competition drives costs down
By Yofa on 12/27/2012 3:01:48 AM , Rating: 2
yeah! stick it to lockheed, elon!




Just blowing off steam
By trclark81 on 12/27/2012 11:07:18 AM , Rating: 2
This is just corporate sabre rattling. Boeing has no evidence that SpaceX is cutting corners, or they'd have named specifics at the very least to NASA and the Air Force. SpaceX most assuredly has made some advances in technology simply by starting from a clean slate. But even so their statement that those advances are the whole of the difference between them and ULA is equally hot air.

This is not only not surprising, but predictable. It happens in every industry between the scrappy upstarts and the established industry leaders. Heck, it happens between nearly any two companies in any industry just about anywhere in the world. Let them bicker. I'll wait for the rockets to fly.




Success does not come cheap
By wb6cia on 1/2/2013 12:29:36 AM , Rating: 2
The success of ULA and SpaceX is in part due to the expertise of the Engineers at the Contractors, and their innovation. Also part due to NASA and Air Force Engineers to specify the requirements, with oversight of the Projects. The paradigm has been that if it works don't fix it, but if there is an improvement requested by the customer, it will cost big time. The profit is relatively small but assured either with Fixed Price or Cost Plus. The new paradigm is more reliance on cost saving thru competition. This will only work with new innovations and determining the cause and resolution of costly requirements. SpaceX does not have the bloated infrastructure of ULA, NASA, or DOD. SpaceX success has not come easily either with Falcon 1 development. All deserve a shot at the future Space Shots. They will each have to continue to innovate while maintaining safety and reliability to survive.




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