SpaceX wants to bid for US military rocket launches

By VCPOST Staff Reporter

Apr 26, 2014 08:27 AM EDT

In a press conference held today, SpaceX chief Elon Musk announced that the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket was able to successfully make a soft landing in the ocean. This achievement takes the firm a step closer to developing a reusable rocket that could significantly cut the costs of spaceflights, according to VentureBeat.

However, Musk's goal does not stop at reducing spaceflight expenses. The company is protesting the US government's bidding method for military launch contracts. The US military currently has a contract with the United Launch Alliance (ULA). This allows the organization to lord over the launches of national defense rockets and aircrafts. Since the government does not allow private firms to join the bidding, ULA has no reason to lower its rates, the report explained.

Musk said its vehicle is good enough for military launches and that the Air Force should open the bidding to everyone: "If our vehicle is good enough for NASA, the International Space Station ... [and] every satellite you can imagine... If we compete and lose, that's fine. We're just saying that companies should be able to compete."

According to Musk, the Air Force's contract with the ULA is too expensive. He said SpaceX could provide the same caliber of services at a significantly lower price. The government pays $3.5 billion to the ULA every year. SpaceX, on the other hand, could cut that price by at least $1 billion, VentureBeat reported.

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