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  SpaceX suit against Air Force EELV contract (ULA)

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Author Topic:   SpaceX suit against Air Force EELV contract (ULA)
Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29588
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-01-2014 10:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Following SpaceX's announcement that it was filing suit to block the Air Force's sole-source contract with United Launch Alliance (ULA) to launch National Security payloads, and the company since filing that complaint, a U.S. Court of Federal Claims judge issued an injunction late Wednesday (April 30) prohibiting ULA from buying Russian-made rocket engines.
Judge Susan G. Braden's ruling came after SpaceX, a California-based rocket company, sued the federal government Monday, protesting the Air Force's award of a lucrative space contract, saying it should have been competitively bid.

In the suit, SpaceX criticizes United Launch Alliance (ULA) for using Russian engines in some of its rockets, which SpaceX founder Elon Musk said might be a violation of U.S. sanctions and was unseemly at a time when Russia "is the process of invading Ukraine."

Musk alleged that the deal would benefit Dmitry Rogozin, the deputy prime minister who heads the Russian defense industry and is named by the U.S. government in the sanctions.

The full text of the Court of Federal Claims injunction can be read here.

The preliminary injunction does not extend to any purchase orders placed or money paid to Russian rocket engine maker NPO Energomash prior to the date of the order, and so will little to no effect on ULA's or the Air Force's pending launches.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29588
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-01-2014 10:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
United Launch Alliance (ULA) release
ULA statement from Kevin G. MacCary, United Launch Alliance General Counsel, in response to Preliminary Injunction Related to National Security

"ULA is deeply concerned with this ruling and we will work closely with the Department of Justice to resolve the injunction expeditiously. In the meantime, ULA will continue to demonstrate our commitment to our National Security on the launch pad by assuring the safe delivery of the missions we are honored to support.

"SpaceX's attempt to disrupt a national security launch contract so long after the award ignores the potential implications to our National Security and our nation's ability to put Americans on board the International Space Station. Just like ULA, NASA and numerous other companies lawfully conduct business with the same Russian company, other Russia state-owned industries, and Russian Federation agencies. This opportunistic action by SpaceX appears to be an attempt to circumvent the requirements imposed on those who seek to meet the challenging launch needs of the nation and to avoid having to follow the rules, regulations and standards expected of a company entrusted to support our nation's most sensitive missions."

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29588
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-09-2014 07:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space News reported Thursday (May 8) that a U.S. federal judge lifted the injunction that temporarily barred the U.S. Air Force and United Launch Alliance from buying Russian-made rocket engines for launching launch national security missions that had been issued out of concern that the purchases violated sanctions against Russian leaders.
In issuing the temporary injunction April 30, Judge Susan Braden of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims cited the possibility that money from the transactions could wind up in the hands of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees Russia's space industry. Rogozin is one of 11 senior Russian officials sanctioned by the U.S. government following Russia's incursions into Ukraine.

...Braden specified that the injunction would stand pending a determination by the U.S. Treasury, Commerce and State departments that RD-180 purchases did not specifically violate the sanctions.

In letters filed with the court May 6, officials with those departments said no decision had been made to specifically label NPO Energomash as a Rogozin-controlled enterprise.

Additionally, "to the best of our knowledge, purchases from and payments to NPO Energomash currently do not directly or indirectly contravene" the sanctions, Bradley Smith, chief counsel for the Treasury Department, said in a letter to the court.

The State Department's letter echoed that sentiment, while Commerce deferred to the other agencies.

Based on those letters, Braden wrote May 8, she was dissolving the temporary injunction. "If the Government receives any indication, however, that purchases from or payment of money to NPO Energomash by ULS, ULA, or the United States Air Force will directly or indirectly" violate the White House sanctions, the government must inform the court immediately, she wrote.

All times are CT (US)

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