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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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yes but
By Bubbacub on 4/26/2014 4:02:03 PM , Rating: 2
I'm totally behind space x, and think that the current eelv launchers are way way too expensive (and in the case of atlas v way too Russian also).

However space x do not have a current launch vehicle that can do everything that the delta iv can do - a number of military payloads require heavy payloads to gto - the plain falcon 9 has trouble getting large loads to gto (the low ISP of kerolox on the second stage is a killer).

Once falcon heavy is flying regularly and proven to be reliable then I think that space x will have a bulletproof case. The test falcon heavy flight is unlikely to be this year, so we are two or three years from getting to parity with ULA in terms of demonstrable safe access to high energy orbits.

RE: yes but
By M'n'M on 4/26/2014 4:23:27 PM , Rating: 2
However space x do not have a current launch vehicle that can do everything that the delta iv can do - a number of military payloads require heavy payloads to gto

True enough but Musk also said that SpaceX was not contesting all the contract, just the parts they could possibly do now. I took that to mean those flights do-able with the F9.

Of course once that door is opened, the Govt would be wise to re-evaluate whether their interests are really best served by letting a block contract for all the "heavy" flights at this time. At the very least use the potential of FH as leverage to reduce the ULA prices.

RE: yes but
By Grast5150 on 4/28/2014 12:41:49 PM , Rating: 2

Your comments is the exact reason why the contract was deemed closed. The government will argue that SpaceX does not have the experience as the awarded vendors. However, how can SpaceX get experience if they are not even allowed to compete.

I say let SpaceX have a piece of the pie and prove their ability to perform.

This maybe bad information but to my knowledge the EELB uses Russian made rocket engines. I have no desire to support the Russian economy in any way. So let SpaceX have a slice of the pie and cut out the Russian money transfer.

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