Skip to comments.Court Injunction Blocks Russian Engine Purchase by ULA for US National Security – Win for SpaceX...
Posted on 05/01/2014 8:43:27 PM PDT by BenLurkin
The US Federal Court of Federal Claims order was issued late Wednesday, April 30, by US Judge Susan G. Braden of the US Court of Federal Claims. The order is in response to a protest filed by SpaceX against ULA and the US Air Force relating to the uncontested block buy launch contract purchase of 36 rocket cores for US National Security launches and is also related to US sanctions imposed after Russias recent actions in Ukraine and seizing and annexing the Crimea.
The injunction marks a big win for SpaceX but immediately throws future National Security spy satellite and NASA science launches into uncertainty and potential disarray as I reported previously here and here.
As I reported here last Friday, April 25, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk declared his firms intent to file suit against ULA and the Air Force on Monday, April 28.
Judge Bradens injunction followed barely two days later.
(Excerpt) Read more at universetoday.com ...
SpaceX can’t take that competition I guess?
Does seem a tad shifty doesn’t it?
A bit. Not that I think Russia wouldn’t undersell on purpose to ruin the competition
Bummer for them and us.
But good for the country.
That we rely on Russian rocket motors to put our Defense assets in space is a disgrace and a strategic weakness.
Who is the only US manufacturer of rocket engines? Currently, that is SpaceX. I am sure Musk will sell to Lockeed.
No, look up Rocketdyne.
It's just that we don't build the big stuff here anymore...heavy lift5.
Musk got past this by clustering smaller engines...many of decades old design...into various stages of the rocket.
Of course Rocketdyne used to build the ultimate Heavy Lift...the Saturn rockets. They could do it again.
All we lack is the resolve.
ATK makes solid fuel boosters.
The Russian NK-32/33 engines are very good as the Soviets were able to use the turbine exhaust for the fuel & oxygen for boost, instead of venting it. This makes the Russian engine 10+% more powerful than US designs. SpaceX engines don’t have the feature & are not as powerful.
How hard could it be for an American company to produce a knock-off of the Russian design?
While I don't doubt this for a second, the huge problem I see is the possibility of Russia delivering a few subtly sabotaged engines in a large delivery.
5 or 10% of all engines having a crucial bearing replaced with a lead alloy fake part that X-rays the same as the real thing and requires major disassembly to test otherwise, would set us back by years.
Not to mention the possibility of simply waiting until our engine supply is at a low point and then refusing to sell more.
It is ULA that can’t take the competition.
Much like in Russia the contract was awarded without open competitive bidding.
SpaceX would be at least 40% cheaper.
It does not matter if other American companies have made heavy lift engines in the past, if they don’t do it now then SpaceX is the only CURRENT American manufacture.