SpaceX has been fighting a long battle for the right to be considered for a US military contract. After suing for this right, they’re the last ones in the running for the contract of a next-gen GPS satellite for the U.S. Air Force. They are set to land their first US military contract.
SpaceX’s main competitor was the United Launch Alliance of Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The ULA repurpose old Russian rockets to carry cargo into space. Following Russia’s invasion of Crimea, however, Congress has banned the use of Russian rockets to carry military satellites into space. Now the choice falls to the Department of Defense. They can choose to not send up new satellites or go with SpaceX.
From Ars Technica:
The company’s decision appears to bring some closure to the public and legal battle SpaceX launched in April, 2014, to buttress its efforts to get into the national defense satellite launch market. At the time, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk accused the US government of entering into improper and uncompeted launch agreements with private contractors and said that SpaceX’s rockets could do the same job at a far lower cost. “We’re just protesting and saying these launches should be competed,” said Musk at a press conference. “And if we compete and lose, that’s fine, but why were they not even competed?”
So, what will this mean for SpaceX? A huge success! This has been a battle that Musk has held very important and landing a big military contract is an extremely successful win. It could hold long term victories as well. This would get SpaceX’s foot in the door as this launch is the first of nine similar launches the military is expected to put up for a bid between now and the end of 2017.
We’ll be interested to see how this all turns out and what SpaceX’s experience is after they receive a military contract. Musk isn’t slowing down anytime soon either –many recent reports are suggesting that the Hyperloop project might break ground earlier than its expected date of May 2016!
What do you think of SpaceX and their potential military contract? Are you rooting for or against them? Thoughts? Comment below!