Friday, May 9, 2014

Court Lifts Ban On Russian Rocket Engine Purchases

Photo: ULA Atlas V rocket launches USAF secret X-37B spacecraft.  Credit: ULA


CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida --  On Thursday, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims lifted the preliminary injunction on United Launch Alliance’s (ULA’s) purchase of the RD-180 engines from Russian suppliers RD AMROSS and NPO Energomash after the Court received letters submitted by the U.S. Departments of State, Treasury and Commerce which stated that NPO Energomash is not subject to any of the current sanctions and that ULA’s continued purchase of the RD-180 does not directly or indirectly contravene the Ukraine sanctions.


“Sadly, SpaceX’s frivolous lawsuit caused unnecessary distraction of the executive and judicial branch and increased tensions with Russia during a sensitive national security crisis," ULA said in a statement. "SpaceX’s actions are self-serving, irresponsible and have threatened the U.S.’s involvement with the International Space Station and other companies and projects working with Russian State entities."


“We continue to hope that SpaceX will revisit its underlying lawsuit and the merits of its case," ULA continued.  "The fact remains, even today SpaceX is not certified to launch even one mission under the block buy contract -- a contract that was authorized and announced more than two years ago, without objection by SpaceX, and is saving the U.S. taxpayers over $4 billion.” 


ULA is a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin that provides launch vehicles under an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) contract with the U.S. Air Force.  SpaceX has filed a lawsuit which challenges the EELV contract.


"This exclusive deal unnecessarily costs U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars and defers meaningful free competition for years to come,” said SpaceX CEO Elon Musk about the lawsuit. “We are simply asking that SpaceX and any other qualified domestic launch providers be allowed to compete in the EELV program for any and all missions that they could launch.”