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SpaceX lawsuit: United Launce Alliance issues statement

US: In response to the lawsuit filed by SpaceX challenging the US Air Force’s decision to award the five-year block buy contract for Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV), United Launch Alliance (ULA) has issued a press statement.

“The recent 5-year block buy contract was the result of a best practice acquisition process that enabled the government to negotiate a block of launches in advance that enabled significant operations efficiency and created the needed stability and predictability in the supplier and industrial base, while meeting national security space requirements. …This disciplined approach saved the government and taxpayers approximately $4 billion while keeping our nation’s assured access to deliver critical national security assets safely to space,” read the statement.

ULA is a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin that was formed in 2006 to provide launch services to the government using Boeing's Delta IV and Lockheed Martin's Atlas V. Both rockets are "Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles" (EELVs) developed through public-private partnerships with the government in the late 1990s where the companies and the government each invested in building updated versions of the Delta and Atlas rockets, which date back to the beginning of the Space Age.

The companies originally planned to compete with each other for government and commercial launches, but the commercial market did not materialize as expected. The joint venture was created in 2006 in a deal with the government to keep the companies in the launch services business, upon which DOD and NASA rely to get their satellites into space.

SpaceX is a new entrant in the launch services business and wants to break into national security space launch market and is filing suit because it believes it is unfairly being excluded from competition.

Source: ULA press release and Space Policy Online