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SpaceX secures first major military contract


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I've written a lot about this in the financial forum but a recap. The United Launch Alliance (ULA) was a private company formed by Lockheed and Boeing to provide US military and other launch capability. They had a monopoly for five or six years and then along came Elon Musk and Space X. First the ULA made public mocking comments that they could not develop a successful rocket engine and vehicle in the five years he said they would. Space X did and the ULA spent millions lobbying inside the beltway to keep Tesla out. They got in and had al successful launches then had one launch failure. last year. But just after we found out that the ULA chose to not correct the anti Musk forces when they said the ULA had never had a failure when in fact Boeing/Lockheed/ULA had been directly involved in the Columbia disaster.

 

But that wasn't the big shocker. After Musk sued he got some contracts and that great record of the ULA? We found out that they did not manufacture their own engines, they were buying them from Russia. No one realized that they put our national interests in space, the current critical defense and offense arena, in the hands of Putin. Well Putin did not like our stance on the Ukraine and he put an embargo on sales of space engines to the US - no more rocket engines for us.

 

The ULA is out or almost our of engines. They gave one to Orbital sciences for their successful flight after their crash. Teslas continued using their own engines, and they are the only ones not using Russian engines in the US.

 

It takes at least three years after a new launch vehicle engine combination is fully developed before it can be certified for critical US military and national interest launches. I don't know if the ULA has even begun to build or contract a US engine. I doubt they will swallow their pride and buy falcon engines from Musk.

 

So had it not been for Musk and his privately held Space X, we would not be able to launch at all for the next three to five years.

 

So now Space X has the monopoly save any spare engines still in stock. I heard they had two possible three engines left from the last buy from Russia. I can't believe they did that.

 

Ok Musk and Space X just won the contract for the military flights because they came in at 50% of what the ULA could launch for. But that is really moot since they have no engines anyway.

 

Bear all that in mind as you read this fantastic article:

 

Excerpt: [bracketed comments are "added" by me]

 

"Announced on Wednesday, SpaceX said the National Security Space (NSS) launch services contract is for Global Positioning System (GPS) III Launch Services, in which the Falcon 9 rocket will be used to launch a GPS satellite into space.

 

The total value of the contract is $82.7 million, which will cover vehicle production, mission integration, and launch operations and spaceflight certification.

 

The contract has now broken up the space monopoly. Rival firm United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing, is the developer of the Atlas and Delta launch systems which have been used in over 1,300 missions over the past 50 years.

 

Until now, ULA has dominated this area of space,[using Russian engines not their own] but SpaceX may now be considered a worthy commercial rival for the attention of governments, military and space projects.

 

GPSIII represents next-generation satellites which are used for both military and civilian purposes. The satellite will provide anti-jamming capabilities as well as improved accuracy and movement.

 

SpaceX's average cost for launch is $61.2 million, as noted by Popular Science. In comparison, ULA -- which dropped out of the running as it was unable to meet SpaceX's bid in price -- needs $225 million to launch a satellite. [and because they can't get any more Russian rocket engines.]

 

The whole article with links to related stories is here: http://www.zdnet.com/article/spacex-secures-first-major-military-contract/?tag=nl.e539&s_cid=e539&ttag=e539&ftag=TRE17cfd61

 

Note: Space X is now the largest private manufacturer of rocket engines in the world. Go USA!

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A USAF military launch contract. Sorry I was gone for a few days as were the forums. My B-Day was Tuesday and I spent it drinking all day. A gallon of mix. The fourth was with me Wednesday as I got roto-rootered at both ends. So just saw this as I am trying to go to bed since it is 1 AM and the anesthesia has finally stopped making me feel hungover.

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