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URGENT: Contact your Rep in Congress

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Air Force is planning a combined 46 launches of its workhorse Atlas 5 and Delta 4 rockets from 2013 through 2017, a rate the service says will prevent the buildup of excess inventory even if it commits to buying the vehicles at a rate of eight per year, according to a recent Air Force report to Congress.

Seeking to curb soaring satellite launch costs, the Air Force is planning a bulk buy of its Atlas 5 and Delta 4 Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) rockets from United Launch Alliance (ULA) of Denver. But the strategy has drawn criticism from Congress and prospective ULA competitors, who argue that it will lock the Air Force into higher-than-necessary prices and, given recent launch rates, result in excess rocket inventory.

In its March 2012 report, ordered up by Congress in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, the Air Force acknowledged that actual yearly Delta 4 and Atlas 5 launch rates from 2005 through 2009 were only 30 to 44 percent of what was planned. But the service noted that for 2010 and 2011, the vehicles logged a combined seven and nine launches, respectively, or 100 percent of what was planned.


Please contact your rep. Let them know that if they don't stand up for free markets, they will not be reelected. It's time we stand up against these inside deals with government contractors! We don't have much time. The deal is to be inked this summer.


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