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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RE: How many $$s ?
4/28/2014 12:25:22 PM
What about National security? The Air Force isn't launching loaves of bread into orbit. They are putting classified equipment into space (or whatever it may be) and it is in our interest to prevent terrorists or foreign countries from sabotaging or spying on it.
What guarantees can Space X make to assure us of this?
There's a reason we don't use Greyhound to bus Nukes coast to coast...
RE: How many $$s ?
4/28/2014 2:32:18 PM
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 ?
4/28/2014 5:11:00 PM
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?
"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home
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