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Satnews Daily
July 28th, 2014

U.S. Air Force, United Launch Alliance + SpaceX—The Wheel Continues To Turn Regarding Launch Vehicle Contracts (Legal)

[SatNews] The United States Air Force must now enter into negotiations with SpaceX regarding launch contracts—a federal judge order the formal discussions as SpaceX has seemingly won this round in their lawsuit against United Launch Alliance (ULA).

A gag rule has now been imposed on the legal proceedings, which means information regarding the USAF/SpaceX negotiations—or even additional court actions—are going to be somewhat difficulty to obtain. Without a doubt, this ruling will find SpaceX in a much more favorable position regarding future launches that will place the Falcon vehicle at the ready for pushing milsats into orbit.

The lawsuit’s original contention by SpaceX was that the ULA’s billions in launch contract assignments with the USAF was a violation of fair contracting procedures—and with an earlier ruling stipulating ULA could no longer obtain Russian engines for their launch vehicles, the turn of legal events for SpaceX seemed to be heading in their direction.

However, the U.S.A.F. and ULA relationship remains legal. The USAF contract system for acquiring launch vehicles can, and will, currently remain closed to any additional participation by firms other than ULA. The judge will now be examining the in-force contracts to ensure all is legal as the process continues to move forward.