GPS satellite launches, controlled by the U.S. Air Force, could potentially be open to additional competition. SpaceX, Inc., and CEO Elon Musk, plan a Friday complaint filing with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. The company seeks a level and competitive playing field versus United Launch Alliance LLC (ULA), a joint venture between Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co.

SpaceX, Inc., and owner Elon Musk, take issue with the exclusive nature of the satellite launch contracts that the U.S. Air Force has recently negotiated. The EELV (Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle) GPS satellite launch program has, without any outside competitive bidding, already been awarded through 2017. Come this Friday, a fight over these non-competitive bidding practices begins.

GPS Satellite Rocket-Maker Owned by Elon Musk Sues Air Force
GPS Satellite Rocket-Maker Owned by Elon Musk To Sue Air Force

Musk was quoted in a statement saying, ““We are simply asking that SpaceX and any other qualified domestic launch providers be allowed to compete in the EELV program for any and all missions that they could launch.” The landscape of the GPS satellite launch program might soon change.

Tensions between the U.S. and Russia are also setting the stage for a launch program fight. SpaceX is seeking to exploit the fact that ULA makes use of the Atlas V booster, which relies on a Russian-made rocket engine designed by the NPO Energomash company. Ironically, NPO Energomash is headed by the recently sanctioned head of Russia’s space program, Dmitry Rogozin. Musk argues that, in light of recent events, it is irresponsible for the Air Force to contribute to the very same economy that these sanctions are intended to punish. The Air Force has acknowledged these concerns and is currently seeking a license to produce the engine inside the U.S.


We have more great articles in our archives on GPS technology. “GPS Technology to Combat Child Trafficking”.