Back in March, GFR reported on SpaceX’s plans to conduct missions for the U.S. military. The private contractor has been racking up the necessary certifications to use its Falcon rockets to launch government satellites, positioning them to start competing for contracts starting next year. But even then, there has been skepticism about SpaceX’s plans, not because of lack of ability, but because the Air Force halved the number of launches it will award to competitors between 2015-2017. So far, they have awarded high-priority contracts to a single company: United Launch Alliance (ULA). Elon Musk and his company perceive this to be a monopoly, and are suing the U.S. Government.
Tomorrow, the suit will be filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and an official press release and documentation will be made public at www.freedomtolaunch.com. Musk argues that the ULA’s monopoly of Air Force launches will result in unnecessarily penalizing taxpayers to the tune of billions of dollars. “The national security launches should be put up for competition and they should not be awarded on a sole source, uncompeted basis,” he says. Last December, ULA secured a contract to sell 36 rocket cores to the Air Force for future endeavors. The “block buy” purchase is like buying in bulk and receiving a discount, while simultaneously denying other companies the ability to compete. The Air Force planned to award 14 more cores to other companie, but half of those, as mentioned, have been deferred.