Saturday, April 26, 2014

SpaceX to sue Air Force

SpaceX said Friday it plans to sue the Air Force for awarding billions to United Launch Alliance for national security launches that might even violate sanctions against Russia. The suit is expected to be filed Monday in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. The military spends billions yearly with UAL, a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program. It uses UAL’s Atlas V and Delta IV launch vehicles. The Atlas V first stage is powered by Russian-built RD-180 engines, which has raised concern among some lawmakers. But UAL has been highly successful with 68 successful launches in a row. SpaceX's launch system still has to be certified as meeting military standards, something that is expeced. (Sources: Space Daily Express, Breaking Defense, Bloomberg, 04/25/14) Gulf Coast note: Delta IV uses Aeroject Rocketdyne RS-68 engines, assembled and tested at Stennis Space Center, Miss., for the first stage; SpaceX will be testing its next generation engines at Stennis Space Center.