SpaceX Files Protest Against U.S. Air Force Space Launch Monopoly
April 25, 2014 11:02 PM
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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
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.
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.
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4/26/2014 12:29:39 PM
They don't have to go away, they have legions of extremely smart, talented people -- which would be put to great use, IF the companies faced competition in the government contract arena. It's the current
that needs to go away.
4/26/2014 6:44:23 PM
Ringold is right, it is not Lockheed and friends who are at fault for the waste of funds, it is the bureaucracy that they have to spend months and years fighting through with an army of lawyers and accountants. Their engineering is top notch.
4/28/2014 9:34:10 AM
The problems isn't with LM or Boeing. This has been documented many times. The government has rotating positions for high offices and military. These people holding decision making decisions does not last the duration of the contract/project.
What happens is that the next person in charge that walks in always have a "better idea". These "bright ideas" cost money and time because you basically just scrapped the project timeline and force project managers to redraw, regroup and redesign. Not to mention these technologies are not off the shelf stuff. Everything is built from scratch or just invented.
Costs balloons because buffoons have new ideas. They need to stick with one person and one schedule.
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