It seems to be brewing a small scandal. Ilon Mask and his company, SpaceX, filed a lawsuit against NASA, yes, at their direct employer and partner, because according to a contract with NASA, Mask supplies supplies to the ISS using their Falcon 9 missiles. The problem is that SpaceX lost the tender and now requires an explanation. First of all, Musk wonders why a competitor’s rocket was chosen for the scientific mission to the Trojan satellites of Jupiter, if the SpaceX rocket costs 30% less.
Why SpaceX is suing NASA
You see, the fact is that in the US supportprivate space activities are carried out directly through NASA - the agency issues grants and contracts to large companies, supporting their development and partly financing. If it were not for the support of NASA in the difficult years of SpaceX, the company might not have.
January 31 NASA announced that the tender to launchLucy's Jupiter asteroids in October 2021, will get the United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, competing with Mask.
Start-up and mission costs are estimated at 148.3.million dollars. ULA will launch using an Atlas V-401 rocket. It is unknown who else participated in the tender, but SpaceX was definitely there. And she did not fail to quarrel, having learned the sad news. The results of the tender SpaceX protested in the American Audit Chamber. The decision on the issue must be made no later than May 22. But the moves have already earned: after the SpaceX complaint to NASA suspended work on a contract with ULA.
Mask is not the first time loudly declaresthe need for fair competition. Even at the dawn of the development of SpaceX, almost all orders and tenders, almost without competition, thanks to strong support and lobbyists, went to the United Launch Alliance. But high-profile courts and lawsuits did their job: SpaceX earned a name for itself by partnering with NASA.
"Since SpaceX began to launch missionsFor NASA, this is the first time we have challenged the agency’s decisions, the corporation said. - SpaceX offered an option with extremely high confidence in the success of the mission at a price well below the named amount. Therefore, we believe that the decision to pay much more than Boeing and Lockheed for the same mission does not serve the interests of the agency and the American taxpayers. ”
But what they say in ULA:
"ULA competed for NASA Lucyand was honored with the fulfillment of this important scientific mission, they said there. - This interplanetary mission has an extremely narrow launch window to get on all the selected space bodies and perform all scientific tasks. If Lucy misses this window, it will not be able to take place for decades. ”
The cost of running the Falcon 9 with the return of the firststeps is 62 million dollars. The most expensive start will cost 97 million. Choosing SpaceX, NASA could save only about 30% of the cost at launch. Why preference given ULA? Share your opinion in our chat in Telegram.