Elon Musk’s space company plans to sue the U.S. Air Force to challenge a $7.2 billion non-compete contract for 36 Pentagon satellite launches awarded to Lockheed Martin (LMT) – Boeing (BA) joint venture monopoly, Bloomberg quotes the billionaire as saying at a news conference on Friday.
“These launches should be competed,” SpaceX Chief Executive Musk told reporters at the National Press Club in Washington. “If we compete and lose, that is fine. But why would they not even compete it?”
Musk, who is perhaps best known as CEO and Product Architect of Tesla Motors (TSLA), wants a piece of the Pentagon launch market, which according to Bloomberg has an estimated value of $70 billion through 2030. He has said competition in the military satellite-launch program may save taxpayers more than $1 billion a year.
Also Friday, Senator John McCain [via Reuters] asked the Pentagon’s inspector general in a letter to probe the Air Force’s administration of the process and what he described as its “demonstrably false explanations” for why it had postponed some of the competitive launches.
McCain said it was “profoundly troubling” that the Air Force was not following the Pentagon’s goal to promote competition.
SpaceX, a California-based startup rocket company, plans to file its suit Monday in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.