Elon Musk’s SpaceX Is Taking on the Federal Government

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.

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8 Comments on Elon Musk’s SpaceX Is Taking on the Federal Government

  1. Mr. Musk produces the best products in their class, from space rockets to electric car “rockets”! He is an outstanding example of American ingenuity and enterprise. The American public needs to stand with Mr. Musk in his efforts to both provide us with better personal transportation, his Tesla models, and provide our nation with better satellite launch vehicles.
    For decades now we have had to sit and watch as the military-industrial complex has oversold and underbid every government contract it has been awarded, all of which produced a continual drain on the highest and best use of our hard-earned tax dollars. Now comes Mr. Musk with powerfully new, innovations in manufacturing and imaginative concepts in transportation brought to life. Mr. Musk’s work is being attacked with antiquated, good old boy cronyism restrictions on opening-up the availability of his electric cars to American consumers nation-wide, and now is battling the starkly anti-free market lobbies in Congress that want to keep their satellite launch vehicles competition free.
    Come-on folks, let’s better rally around this man and his ideas, for if allowed to flourish he will greatly participate in similarly great improvements in all of our personal lives! Write our congressional members and demand an end to “non compete” contracts, and while we are at it also demand our state legislatures to open-up direct sales of Tesla vehicles, end the car dealership monopoly on we the consumer having to always go through a middle-man to buy a car!

  2. This is what America is, a new small business doing great things. The Fat Cats big companies need to give Mr. Musk a chance!

  3. Grady, I ABSOLUTELY AGREE with everything you said – in America we should be representing the in COMPETITION, INNOVATION, and LESS Government interference in things where private entities are trying to compete.

    If we want to avoid another Hitler mistake of advancing room for people who need places to live – we’re going to need to expand to the stars – having Lockheed Martin being the only company that gets to deal with space and the subsidies that come with advancement in areas like that, is terrible terrible terrible for our future.

    Open the roads to commercialization of space, and let true competitors try to earn government $$$

  4. Bravo to Mr. Padgett!. Well said!

    There is so much sludge in our system that favors our plutocracy that true innovation is nearly completely stifled. Mr. Musk is fortunate in both his brilliance and his ability to acquire funding (I don’t know what he had to begin with). With such assets, he is able to get the attention of the public and lawmakers. Such is not the case for most equally deserving entrepreneurs.

    Money runs too much of our policy, while, actually, all of our policy. While we pretend that monopolies have been eliminated, it’s far from the truth, they’re now simply morphed into various sets of a limited number of “oligiopolies” that collaborate to maintain the status quo. One needs look no further than the energy industry, the telecommunication industry, big agriculture, big pharmaceuticals and so forth to see how deep invested interests are determined to resist innovation. Take solar energy as a prime example: there is vast potential in that technology, and it is ready now. The problem? Big companies can’t make money off it! If a homeowner puts an array on his/her roof and produces electricity, the utility company takes a hit. Worse than that, if the panels make more energy than the home needs, under some state’s laws, the utility has to buy it. They hate that. Indeed, Alabama decided to tax people who produced excess energy. Is that regressive or what?

    While Mr. Musk might while be one of the 1%, I’d much rather have men like him in charge than the constipated fools that rule now. Free thinkers, imaginative, creative, forward thinking, visionary people should be our future leaders, not the regressive spawn of a generation that has demonstrably failed in almost every regard.

    Most Respectfully,

    David Marshall Coons, Ph.D.

  5. Space-X has a good sign in competition. But for defend business, it’s a sensitive information by any nation. The company still has a long way to learn the trust from government. Why did the company tell to the world military is going send 36 Pentagon satellite in the orbits? He should know China and Russia can shoot down any satellite in the space, if they know where it is. That reason is the cost the Pentagon paid for Lockheed and Boeing.

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