Elon Musk’s space vehicle certification to be reviewed by Pentagon

14 Février, 2019, 17:15 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Разрабатываемый SpaceX двигатель Raptor побил рекорд российского РД-180

The Pentagon will evaluate the certification for Elon Musk's SpaceX launch vehicles to determine whether the U.S. Air Force complied with certain guidelines, according to a memo here on Monday.

The investigation will start this month and take place at Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Roark's memo states. The Air Force also announced at the time that it SpaceX a contract to launch the AFSPC-52 satellite, saying the rocket offered the government "a total launch solution for this mission".

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SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket certification was only granted by the Air Force following a long battle between Elon Musk and the Pentagon, which finally ending when Musk agreed to drop a lawsuit that challenged US contracts for military satellite launches being awarded to the ULA joint venture.

SpaceX's ambitions to carry military payloads puts it in direct competition with United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint operation of Boeing and Lockheed-Martin which had a monopoly on commercial launches of military equipment until SpaceX's initial 2015 USAF certification allowed them to carry military payloads. At the time SpaceX broke into the military launch program, ULA was the big cat on the street. It didn't give a reason for what prompted the evaluation. "It is one of the key projects in the OIG's expanding oversight focus on the Department of Defense's space, missile defense, and nuclear management challenges". Air Force spokesman Brigadier General Edward Thomas said the service didn't have an immediate comment. After the certification of the Falcon 9, SpaceX agreed to drop a lawsuit challenging US contracts for military satellite launches awarded to the ULA joint venture. Many people might remember that the only competitor for the almost $83 million contract was United Launch Alliance (ULA), which had pulled out of the competition.

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