The Future Of Reusable Rockets Turns To The Courts

NASA has attempted, with limited success, to use the strained relationship between Russia and the United States to boost support for reducing our dependence on Russian rockets, especially for access to the International Space Station.  A similar effort is taking place in the commercial space sector.

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, which continues to make advances in reusable rocket technology, sued the Air Force to open its contract for rocket launches so that SpaceX may compete for some of those launches.  The contract is currently held by the United Launch Alliance, and it relies on Russian rocket engines for its launch vehicles.  In addition, the head of the Russian space sector was one of the individuals targeted for sanctions by the Obama Administration.

SpaceX achieved early success when the U.S. Court of Federal Claims issued a preliminary injunction, temporarily barring the Air Force from buying Russian rockets while the court determined whether the contract violated government sanctions against Russia.  The court eventually determined the contract did not violate the sanctions and dissolved the injunction.  This does not resolve the issue of whether the contract should be re-opened to allow SpaceX to compete.  That aspect of the lawsuit will continue, and depending on whether the Russians are serious about threats to block the U.S. from accessing the International Space Station, expect fingers to be pointed at Mr. Musk.

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2 thoughts on “The Future Of Reusable Rockets Turns To The Courts

  1. Pingback: SpaceX Failure – Risk Is Still Its Business | Pasco Phronesis

  2. Pingback: SpaceX Probably Won’t Be Suing NASA Anytime Soon | Pasco Phronesis

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