US Air Force makes peace with SpaceX

by | Jan 29, 2015 | commercial launch services, Military space, SpaceX | 0 comments

After mediation, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has officially withdrawn its legal action against the US Air Force after being offered the chance to bid on more military launches. SpaceX had originally filed a law suit in April 2014 over the launch of military satellites after the US Air Force ordered 36 core launch vehicles from the Boeing/Lockheed Martin consortium ULA (United Launch Alliance) with only a small portion of US Air Force launches being put up for competitive bids.  Elon Musk of SpaceX argued that SpaceX was offering to launch certain satellites e.g. GPS spacecraft, for considerably less that ULA could achieve and thus should have been at least considered.

The US Air Force countered that SpaceX’s Falcon 9 had not yet achieved the necessary certification by US military authorities to carry military payloads key to the national defence. After a bitter war of words, there was a subsequent agreement made between the two parties.  While the exact detail remains undisclosed, it was reportedly decided that the US Air Force would accelerate the certification process and allow SpaceX to bid on more launches while maintaining its agreed contracted number of launches with ULA.  With three more launches awarded to ULA in January 2014 (worth US$383 million), the current USAF/ULA contract is now worth US$4.08 billion.

Comment by David Todd: It is a fair way out. One thing though. The ability to bid for SpaceX to bid more military launches might be moot.  With its already bulging launch order book and hence very full launch schedule, it might be very difficult for SpaceX to squeeze any more launches in.

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

Amazonas Nexus comsat is launched into a Super-synchronous transfer orbit by Falcon 9

After a few days of weather related delays, a SpaceX Falcon 9v1.2FT Block 5 rocket was successfully launched from Cape Read more

Starlink Group 5-3 is launched by a SpaceX Falcon 9

At 0758 GMT on 2 February 2023  a Falcon 9v1.2FT Block 5 successfully launched 53 Starlink Gen2 satellites (Group 5-3) Read more

South Korea confirms shift of two missions from Russian launchers; Kompsat 6 goes to Arianespace and CAS500-2 goes back to international market

The South Korean vice-minister for Science, Oh Tae-seog, announced on 1 February 2023 that they had selected an Arianespace Vega Read more

SpaceX launches another batch of Starlinks plus ION-SCV9 delivery spacecraft testing separation system

A Falcon 9v1.2FT Block 5 was launched from the Vandenberg Space Force base in California at 1615 GMT on 31 Read more

US sanctions SPACETY for supplying radar imagery to Russian Wagner Group in Ukraine

Just as Ukraine's military campaign has been supported by US commercial spacecraft operating firms — with SpaceX and Maxar providing Read more

SpaceX Falcon 9 launches Starlink Group 5-2

On 26 January 2023, at 0932 GMT, a Falcon 9v1.2FT Block 5 successfully launched 56 Starlink Gen2 satellites from Space Read more

Japan completes its first launch of the year of the radar reconnaissance satellite IGS RADAR-7

Kicking off its launch year, Japan has placed a radar reconnaissance satellite into near-500 km sun-synchronous low Earth orbit (LEO). Read more

NASA goes Nuclear Thermal as it plans to launch engine on DARPA’s DRACO project test mission in 2027

Nuclear Thermal rocket propulsion has been mooted since the 1960s. The idea is to use nuclear power to heat rocket Read more

Categories

Archives