SpaceX Protest Delays US Air Force Satellite Launches

SpaceX Protest Delays US Air Force Satellite Launches

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US: The Lockheed Martin/Boeing joint venture United Launch Alliance (ULA), that launches satellites and other payloads for the US military, has expressed concern with a preliminary injunction that for now halts its Air Force launch contract because of US sanctions against Russia.

The US Court of Federal Claims issued a ruling last week preventing ULA from purchasing Russian-made RD-180 engines to power its Atlas V rocket. The ruling stems from a protest filed earlier last week by Elon Musk, CEO of Space Exploration Technologies arguing for competition in Air Force satellite launches. SpaceX asserted in its complaint that economic sanctions against Russia imposed after its annexation of Crimea prevent the Air Force from doing business with the Russian supplier, NPO Energomash. "ULA is deeply concerned with this ruling and we will work closely with the Department of Justice to resolve the injunction expeditiously. SpaceX's attempt to disrupt a national security launch contract so long after the award ignores the potential implications to our national security and our nation's ability to put Americans on board the International Space Station," said Kevin MacCary, ULA General Counsel.

SapceX in April protested an Air Force contract awarded in December 2013 for 36 satellite launches, arguing that the contract should have been subject to a competition.

Source: Defense systems