Elon Musk wants a piece of the Pentagon launch market, which according to Bloomberg, has an estimated value of $70 billion through 2030. Musk, who is perhaps best known as CEO and Product Architect of Tesla Motors (TSLA), is also the CEO of California-based startup rocket company Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX.
Musk’s SpaceX, which already has shown it can deliver cargo to the Int’l Space Station — SpaceX became the first private company to reach the space station with its Dragon capsule in 2012 — and is working to transport crew, wants a share of the Pentagon launch market, which is currently a monopoly held by a Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) – Boeing (BA) Co. joint venture.
The joint partnership between the US government’s two biggest contractors was established in 2006.
“Despite the continuing promise of lower costs since 2006, the fact is that the current situation of sole-source providers has become unsustainable,” Musk said in testimony prepared for a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing today.
The Pentagon in 2012 directed the Air Force to end the launch monopoly, authorizing it to buy as many as 14 booster cores (the main component of a rocket) over the next five years from potential challengers such as Space Exploration Technologies Corp. headed by Musk.
Bloomberg’s report noted that Pentagon plans to invite other companies to compete for as many 14 launches starting in the year that begins Oct. 1.
In his testimony Musk also said that competition in the military satellite-launch program may save taxpayers more than $1 billion a year.