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SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wants to break up a space 'monopoly' in which the U.S. Air Force relies on Boeing and Lockheed Martin to launch military craft into space

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced that his company is in the process of filing a protest against the United States Air Force, targeting the military branch’s contracting procedures, with the case slated for the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
Specifically, Musk says the Air Force’s purchase of 36 Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles (EELV), which is headed by the United Launch Alliance as the core providers of the launches, “blocks companies like SpaceX for competing for national security launches.  We feel that this is not right.  National security launches should be competitive and not sole-sourced.”

President Barack Obama and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tour the Falcon 9 launch site in 2010.
The United Launch Alliance is a joint partnership between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, and remains the only company with clearance to launch military payloads into space for the U.S. government.  Instead of coming out and just saying SpaceX should be awarded launch rights, Musk wants his company to have a fair crack at earning the right to at least compete for these launches. 
It’s a curious time for SpaceX, NASA, and the U.S. military – the retirement of the NASA space shuttle left the U.S. reliant on Russia for space transportation – but political tensions, including sanctions against Russia, are further complicating the matter.  However, SpaceX successfully traveled to the International Space Station on four separate occasions, so it clearly wants to ensure it has ample opportunities for space launches.
Furthermore, Musk said using SpaceX could save taxpayers up to $1 billion, making it a cheaper method than relying on Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

Source: Forbes

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How many $$s ?
By M'n'M on 4/25/2014 11:31:06 PM , Rating: 5
Mr Musk, in his presser today, said words to the effect that;

SpaceX charges about 60 M$ for a F9 (commercial) launch. Those costs do not include the chance of further cost reductions if SpaceX can successfully RTLS the booster stage, which he said was 70% of his cost. That, and further cost reduction, is looking more and more likely given the recent ISS resupply mission test results. Even adding an estimated 30 M$ for USAF "mission assurance requirements) means he thinks F9's will run 90 M$/launch. Compare that to the 400 M$/launch for the EELV program.

"We" should all be pulling for an honest re-look into that contract award.

RE: How many $$s ?
By hpglow on 4/26/2014 3:25:57 AM , Rating: 3
There are a number of corrupt contracts we should have under investigation.

RE: How many $$s ?
By marvdmartian on 4/28/2014 7:53:50 AM , Rating: 3
Too true. But I'm betting that Mr. Musk's political contributions are a pittance, compared to those of Boeing and Lockheed.

And we all know how much weight that pulls, in Washington, when it comes to government contracts being awarded, for big dollar deals. When Congress mandates expenditure, it's done, even if the money spent is wasted, and the end product unwanted (like with the extra C-17 aircraft and M1A1 tanks that were purchased).

RE: How many $$s ?
By Jeffk464 on 4/28/2014 2:26:15 PM , Rating: 3
Yup, the M1A1 was my favorite. The pentagon even went public to announce they didn't want or need more tanks and congress pushed it through anyways.

RE: How many $$s ?
By Jeffk464 on 4/28/2014 2:24:16 PM , Rating: 2
Yup, how much influence do you think Boeing has in Congress.

RE: How many $$s ?
By Samus on 4/26/2014 3:28:52 AM , Rating: 5
I think we need a top to bottom review of all government contracts. But...I just smoked a huge joint and am unreasonably optimistic in my thoughts right now.

RE: How many $$s ?
By Mint on 4/27/2014 10:09:27 AM , Rating: 3
In anyone is interested, here is the senate hearing about the EELV program, with Musk, the CEO of ULA, a professor, and various senators all talking about contract, cost, etc. It was one month ago, and rather fascinating:

Note the senator from Alabama sucking up to ULA...

Thanks to M'n'M for making me aware of Musk's press conference. I'd been waiting for that after reading all the updates on the CRS-3 mission a week ago. Here it is:
It's where we first find out about SpaceX offering $90M per launch vs. ULA's $380M/launch cost.

So here's the interesting thing Musk tells us: The sole-sourced EELV contract was signed back in December, but that was held back from public disclosure until one day after the above hearing.

I think Jason would love writing an op-ed about it all, as it's about technology, space, gov't contracts, the Air Force, and gov't favoritism all in rolled into one.

RE: How many $$s ?
By Mint on 4/27/2014 10:10:43 AM , Rating: 2
EDIT: Sorry, a little posting error. The top link is where we first find out about the costs per launch.

RE: How many $$s ?
By kilkennycat on 5/1/2014 1:14:31 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks for nothing.. Just took a mouthful of coffee when I read your reply and now have to clean it off my monitor :-(

RE: How many $$s ?
By Nightbird321 on 4/26/2014 12:03:31 PM , Rating: 4
But but... that doesn't leave enough margin for tax dollars to circle back as campaign contributions!

RE: How many $$s ?
By MrBlastman on 4/28/2014 12:25:22 PM , Rating: 1
What about National security? The Air Force isn't launching loaves of bread into orbit. They are putting classified equipment into space (or whatever it may be) and it is in our interest to prevent terrorists or foreign countries from sabotaging or spying on it.

What guarantees can Space X make to assure us of this?

There's a reason we don't use Greyhound to bus Nukes coast to coast...

RE: How many $$s ?
By Jeffk464 on 4/28/2014 2:32:18 PM , Rating: 2
They could put a FBI agent in the space X factory for what $100,00-$150,000 a year. Plus what makes you think that there aren't Chinese spies that managed to get hired on at Boeing. The Chinese have proven pretty adept at putting operatives into US military contracting companies.

RE: How many $$s ?
By CalaverasGrande on 4/28/2014 5:11:00 PM , Rating: 3
that is just being silly. What makes you think that SpaceX is any less secure than Boeing? You have employees involved in the program do FBI background checks. Takes all of half an hour each for the printing and interview.

Space X is an American company, so where does "terrorists or foreign countries" even enter into it?

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