ULA Challenges SpaceX For Air Force Contract; Reminds Everyone Of Latest Falcon 9 Explosion
(LockheedMartinVideos / YouTube)
The explosion of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket is still under investigation. Meanwhile, the United Launch Alliance (ULA) has challenged SpaceX for an Air Force contract. The ULA has just submitted its bid in launching a military GPS satellite, all the while reminding everyone of its rival's recent mishap.
The US Air Force's third GPS III satellite will be launched in 2019, according to the Executive Biz.
ULA Challenges SpaceX
The competition is heating up for ULA and SpaceX. It seems that ULA really wants to win the said contract. In doing so, they have been referencing the Falcon 9 explosion. According to The Verge, a ULA spokesperson said that launch failures are costly and far-reaching.
ULA also boasts their 111 consecutive successful launches. They have also been consistent in on-schedule performance. These factors have real and tangible value for taxpayers and warfighters. These factors must be considered when evaluating launch service options, according to the ULA.
ULA pointed it out bluntly. The military should choose the most reliable company, not the one that offers the cheapest services.
ULA's CEO Tory Bruno shared the same sentiment in a letter to the Pentagon. It should be based on "reliability, schedule and past performance." The letter was leaked by The Washington Post. Bruno had actually asked to delay the deadline for proposals on the contract. ULA's reason was to give the Air Force time to investigate the Falcon 9 rocket explosion.
However, the Air Force denied Bruno's request.
ULA and SpaceX's Rivalry
Back in May, ULA and SpaceX almost clashed in another Air Force contract. ULA did not submit a proposal for the second GPS III satellite. Apparently, they would not be able to have a vehicle in time for the launch.
A former ULA executive revealed that there was another reason. ULA also wanted to avoid a price war against SpaceX. Eventually, SpaceX won the contract by default. As per usual, they offered much cheaper launch options.
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