Friday, October 14, 2011
SpaceX Aims At Department Of Defense Launch Contracts
Hawthorne-based SpaceX, the commercial rocket firm headed by technology mogul Elon Musk, said Friday that it is gearing up to compete for upcoming, Department of Defense launches, after the NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and the U.S. Air Force issued new rules for certifying commercial launch vehicles for defense payloads. The three agencies said Friday that the new criteria for launch vehicles--outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Air Force and the two agencies, is aimed at procuring commercial launch services for its satellite and robotic missions, including Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle, or EELV, launches. SpaceX said that it is ready to compete for the contract to win those launches, touting its "American-made" Falcon vehicles. SpaceX said it would save American taxpayers billions over the current "monopoly provider" for the Air Force. The Air Force is currently launching rockets from the United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin.