Air Force Receives Injunction from U.S Court on ULA Space Contract due to Russian Conflict
By Julie S | May 02, 2014 01:28 PM EDT
An injunction released by the U.S Court of Federal Claims impedes the United Launch Alliance (ULA)'s purchase of Russian-made rocket engines for their space flights. The decision comes in the midst of the Russian-Ukraine conflict.
Just one week ago, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk filed a lawsuit against the U.S Air Force to protest their contract with the ULA, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing that allegedly blocked other companies from competing to lead over 36 rocket launches. The suit argued that purchasing Russian engines for the rockets could be a violation of U.S sanctions on the matter and might be regarded as controversial, since Russia is in the process of waging war against Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the ULA defended the contract reasoning that they are the only "government certified launch provider that meets all of the unique EELV (evolved expendable launch vehicle) requirements that are critical to supporting our troops and keeping our country safe."
Musk expressed in a news conference last week that SpaceX has the resources to provide rockets at a lower rate than the agreed price on the bid with ULA. The suit has gained support from the members of Congress, including Senator John McCain, who called for expedited resolution on the case.
"This is not SpaceX protesting and saying these launches should be awarded to us," Musk said at the news conference, as quoted by The Washington Post. "We're just saying these launches should be competed. If we compete and lose, that's fine. But why would they not even compete it? That doesn't make sense."
Russia has responded to this injunction. Deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin tweeted: "After analyzing the sanctions against our space industry, I suggest the U.S. delivers its astronauts to the ISS [International Space Station] with a trampoline."