SpaceX Sues U.S. Air Force over EELV Space Launch Contract

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, said the company will file a lawsuit challenging the award of a contract between Boeing Co. and Bethesda to supply 36 rocket cores to the Air Force to send national security equipment into space. Elon added that the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Program (EELV) contract should be open to other bidders as it was awarded to United Launch Alliance (ULA) in December.

Elon claims that his company could save $300 million per launch for the Air Force and taxpayers. The lawsuit accuses the U. S. Air Force of illegally shutting SpaceX out of the market for military satellite launches.

Elon added that the completion for launch contracts could save taxpayers more than $1 billion a year. Complete launch contracts sets to an estimated value of $70 billion through 2030.

SpaceX lawyers complain that the dependence on Boeing-Lockheed's United Launch Alliance will hamper future meaningful competitions. They added that the Air Force is sending millions of dollars directly to an entity controlled by Russia and to an industry led by an individual identified for sanctions, under the ULA contract.

Elon requests the court to order the Air Force to cancel an agreement with ULA for any launch service more than two years in the future. Although SpaceX rockets are not certified to work with the US Air Force, Elon assures that his company is undergoing the Air Force's certification process, termed as 'paperwork exercise', to rectify them.

Jessica Rye, a spokeswoman for the Centennial, Colorado-based company, said: "ULA is the only government-certified launch provider that meets all of the unique EELV requirements that are critical to supporting our troops and keeping our country safe".