Elon Musk Drops His Fight Against The Air Force


A spacecraft company run by billionaire Elon Musk has dropped a lawsuit alleging the US Air Force improperly awarded a contract to launch military satellites to a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin.


Musk's SpaceX filed the lawsuit in the US Court of Federal Claims in April after Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. landed the lucrative deal through United Launch Services. Musk contended the Air Force set up a bidding process that gave United Launch an unfair advantage.

"The long-term contract, which guarantees the purchase of 36 rocket cores from ULA to be used in national security launches, was granted to ULA on a sole-source basis without any competition from other launch providers," SpaceX said in a statement after filing the lawsuit in April.

In a joint statement late Friday, Space X and the Air Force said they reached an agreement that "improves the competitive landscape and achieves mission assurance for national security space launches."

Court records show former US Attorney General John Ashcroft mediated the settlement talks. The exact terms of that settlement were not immediately clear, though.

At the time of the lawsuit, Musk seemed to take particular issue with the fact that Lockheed-Boeing alliance uses Russian engines for its Atlas V rockets.


"In light of international events, this seems like the wrong time to send hundreds of millions of dollars to the Kremlin," the complaint stated.

Musk made serious allegations in his lawsuit, going so far as suggesting an Air Force program executive officer got a lucrative private-sector job in exchange for awarding the contract to the Lockheed-Boeing alliance.