April 14, 2021

SpaceX and ULA won the competition for military government orders

Why do These Companies HATE SpaceX ? Ep 4

SpaceX and ULA won the competition for military government ordersSpaceX and ULA won the competition for military government orders

The contract value was $ 653 million – and this is just the beginning.

Spacex Ilona Mask and the Boeing-Lockheed Martin United Launch Alliance (ULA) emerged victorious in a fierce competition for the Pentagon’s military launch contracts. This will help companies dominate the lucrative US military satellite launch market for years to come..

The first deals will bring SpaceX $ 316 million in one launch and $ 337 million to ULA in two launches. But the total cost of the deal could be much higher as the military will ask a particular company to launch additional missions..

SpaceX is expected to service 40% of all national security satellites scheduled to launch over the next five to seven years, while ULA will take over the remaining 60% of the system. The military did not specify the number of planned launches and did not announce the total amount of the contract.

What exactly the companies will launch is still a secret. The US security apparatus regularly launches spy satellites and other spacecraft into orbit, but these missions are highly classified.

Launch contracts for such satellites are the bulk of the rocket industry’s revenues. SpaceX and ULA will become the main providers of launches for the US military. Companies face competition from Blue Origin, a rocket venture founded by billionaire Amazon Jeff Bezos, and Northrop Grumman, a longtime government contractor.

Bezos’ Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman – along with ULA – received funding from an earlier round of the military’s contractual program called the National Security Space Launch, or NSSL. But this money was intended to help develop new launch vehicles being developed by each of the companies. This did not guarantee that any of the winners would receive real launch contracts..

SpaceX and ULA have maintained parity on existing national security launches for years.

In 2014, SpaceX filed a lawsuit against the federal government for the right to compete for these orders and ultimately ended ULA’s 10-year monopoly on them. SpaceX rockets are usually priced at a fraction of the cost of a ULA, and it is therefore unclear why the cost of the contract SpaceX presented on Friday was much higher than the ULA’s price per launch. SpaceX’s contract also stipulates that the cost of a single mission is more than three times the $ 90 million suggested price for its Falcon Heavy rocket.. Will Roper, Air Force Assistant Secretary for Procurement, declined to comment to reporters on Friday, citing the confidential nature of the missions.

SpaceX did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

The funds provided under the NSSL were intended to stimulate competition with the ultimate goal of reducing the amount of money the military spends on launches.. 

Roper added that the price could eventually come down, and the Air Force said in a press release that the new contracting strategies have saved the military about $ 7 billion since 2013..

Both Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman will be able to compete for additional business in the third phase of the contract competition, expected to take place in 2025. ULA contracts will have additional benefits for Blue Origin, which builds the powerful engines used in its new line of Vulcan Centaur rocket.

CEO of Blue Origin Bob smith said on Friday that the company «disappointed» the fact that it has not received contracts, although it will continue to develop its New Glenn rocket for other commercial orders. Company «hopes for support».

Northrop Grumman also said in a statement that the company «disappointed» the result.

While SpaceX was expected to receive these contracts, the company was not among the recipients of funds that the military allocated to develop a new rocket in 2018..

Like other companies, SpaceX is developing a new launch vehicle known as Starship and Super Heavy, a rocket and spacecraft system that Musk has called technology that will allow humans to colonize Mars. In theory, the rocket can also be used to launch heavy military cargo into orbit..

A complaint the company filed last year against the federal government said SpaceX’s proposal was asking for money to support all three of its rockets – Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, which are already in operation, as well as Starship.

But officials have determined that the Starship’s inclusion will do «the entire SpaceX portfolio is the most risky» of all options. According to the complaint, SpaceX called this claim «unreasonable».