This is gonna be a bit of a scandal. Elon Musk and his company SpaceX sued the space Agency NASA to court — Yes, his direct employer and partner, after all, under contract with NASA, the company Mask supplies supplies to the ISS using its Falcon 9 rockets. The problem is that SpaceX lost the bid and now demands an explanation. First and foremost, Musk wondered why for a scientific mission to the Trojan satellites of Jupiter was selected as the missile of a competitor, if the rocket SpaceX is 30% cheaper.
Why SpaceX is suing NASA
You see, the fact is that U.S. support for private space activities is carried out directly through NASA — the Agency gives grants and contracts to large companies, supporting their development and partly financing. If not for the support of NASA in the difficult years of SpaceX, the company could not have been possible.
31 January NASA announced that the tender for the launch Lucy asteroids of Jupiter in October 2021, will go to United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin competing with a Mask.
Start-up and the cost of the mission is estimated at and 148.3 million dollars. ULA will perform the launch with a rocket Atlas V-401. Who else participated in the competition for the tender is unknown, but there was definitely SpaceX. Did not fail to swear, having learned the sad news. The results of the tender SpaceX challenged the American in the chamber. A decision on the matter must be made no later than may 22. But clocks have earned now: after a complaint from SpaceX, NASA has suspended work on the contract with ULA.
Musk is not the first time speaks loudly about the need for fair competition. Even in the early days of SpaceX, almost all gospodryady and tenders almost without competition, thanks to the strong support and lobbyists, went to the address of United Launch Alliance. But high-profile trials and litigation have done their job: SpaceX has earned a name for himself in partnership with NASA.
“Since the beginning of SpaceX to launch missions for NASA, this is the first of our appeal against the decisions of the Agency — said the Corporation. – SpaceX has proposed an option with extremely high confidence in the success of the mission at a price much below the amount named. Therefore, we believe that the decision to pay a lot more Boeing and Lockheed for the same mission does not serve the interests of the Agency and American taxpayers.”
But what they say in the ULA:
“ULA participated in the competition for NASA’s Lucy and was awarded the implementation of this important scientific mission, — said there. This interplanetary mission has a very narrow launch window to get all your cosmic body and to fulfill all scientific objectives. If Lucy misses this window, it will not be another decade.”
The cost of launching a Falcon 9 first stage return is 62 million dollars. The most expensive start-up cost of 97 million. Selecting SpaceX, NASA could save just on start-up about 30% of the cost. Why preference is given to ULA?