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SpaceX CEO Elon Musk Sues Government to Break US Air Force’s National Security Launch Monopoly

P R E S S . R E L E A S E

Official complaint available Monday, April 28th on www.freedomtolaunch.com

Washington, DC, April 25, 2014– SpaceX announced today that it is filing a legal challenge to the U.S. Air Force’s latest Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) contract with United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The long-term contract, which guarantees the purchase of 36 rocket cores from ULA to be used in national security launches, was granted to ULA on a sole-source basis without any competition from other launch providers. SpaceX is seeking the right to compete for some of these same launches.

“This exclusive deal unnecessarily costs U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars and defers meaningful free competition for years to come,” said Elon Musk, CEO and Chief Designer. “We are simply asking that SpaceX and any other qualified domestic launch providers be allowed to compete in the EELV program for any and all missions that they could launch.”

EELV is the fourth largest procurement program in the entire Department of Defense (DOD) budget, and it has been plagued by significant and sustained cost breaches. DOD officials have reported that EELV has exceeded its original estimated per unit cost by 58.4%. Each launch by ULA costs American taxpayers roughly $400 million per launch – four times as much as a launch by SpaceX.

SpaceX currently provides launch services for NASA as well as numerous commercial customers. SpaceX is ready and able to reliably provide launch services at an estimated cost savings of 75%.

Additionally, ULA’s launch vehicle, the Atlas V, uses the RD-180 engine – an engine of Russian design and manufacture produced only in the Russian Federation. The company that produces the RD-180, NPO Energomash, is majority owned by the Russian Federation. The head of the Russian space sector, Dmitry Rogozin, was sanctioned by the White House in March 2014 in the wake of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.
“In light of international events, this seems like the wrong time to send hundreds of millions of dollars to the Kremlin,” said Elon Musk. “Yet, this is what the Air Force’s arrangement with ULA does, despite the fact that there are domestic alternatives available that do not rely on components from countries that pose a national security risk.”

SpaceX is seeking a legal determination that would open certain launches under the sole-source contract to competition. The official protest document will be available Monday, April 28th at www.freedomtolaunch.com and will be filed with the United States Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C.

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Great post

Elon Musk is very smart, but not smart enough to realize not to fund his company with stolen money or money that was printed out of thin air, and to believe the illusion of government... of course, they are going with their crony companies for this.. it is not about saving money for anyone... it is about taking as much money as they can from everyone, and giving it to all their buddies! Why would they want to save anyone anything?

And suing them, the courts are all bought and payed for including the supreme court priests. Stop believing in government Elon... build your rockets cheaper for the free market, stop wanting to get in on the mafia payouts from "governments"

SteveMT's picture

50 years ago, Rocketdyne developed F-1 engine for the Saturn V.

Five of these babies put big payloads into low earth orbit. Why not now? Answer: Rocketdyne was sold and dismantled. They don't exist anymore.


Michael Nystrom's picture

Who bought them?

We do hear stories like this throughout history...

He's the man.
SteveMT's picture

The same epithaph of many companies.

The technology was perfected 50 years ago. Yet now, we must redevelop it as if it is all new, or just farm it out to Russia and use their rockets.
"During continued downsizing in the 1980s and '90s, Rockwell International shed several parts of the former North American Rockwell corporation. The aerospace entities of Rockwell International, including the former NAA and Rocketdyne, were sold to Boeing in 1996. Rocketdyne became part of Boeing's Defense division. In February 2005, Boeing reached an agreement to sell what was by then referred to as "Rocketdyne Propulsion & Power" to Pratt & Whitney. The transaction was completed on August 2, 2005. In the sale to Pratt & Whitney, the Power Systems division of Rocketdyne was transferred to Hamilton Sundstrand, another subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation."
They tinker around with old F-1s, but no more are built from scratch.





allegory - ˈalɪg(ə)ri/ - noun - 1. a story, poem, or picture which can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.