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Thread: SpaceX: Why does USAF gives rocket monopoly to United Launch Alliance ?

  1. #1 SpaceX: Why does USAF gives rocket monopoly to United Launch Alliance ? 
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    It appears to me that there should be more media flak shot towards the administration for awarding a huge block of pork-barrel bloated cost launches to the United Launch Alliance instead of saving tax payers money by allowing SpaceX to compete?

    Are people aware that they are paying more taxes than they should with this apparently corrupt situation, whats going on?


    Last edited by icewendigo; May 6th, 2014 at 11:33 AM.
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  3. #2  
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post
    It appears to me that there should be more media flak shot towards the administration for awarding a huge block of pork-barrel bloated cost launches to the United Launch Alliance instead of saving tax payers money by allowing SpaceX to compete?
    What are the requirements that USAF places on their launch companies? Does SpaceX meet them?


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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post
    It appears to me that there should be more media flak shot towards the administration for awarding a huge block of pork-barrel bloated cost launches to the United Launch Alliance instead of saving tax payers money by allowing SpaceX to compete?
    What are the requirements that USAF places on their launch companies? Does SpaceX meet them?
    yes. maybe the AF needs satellites in orbits that SpaceX can not do, like polar orbit, reverse orbit (launched to the west), or highly elliptical orbits? or maybe there is a security requirement that SpaceX can not meet?

    this apparently corrupt situation
    why do you say that it is corrupt?
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  5. #4  
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    ULA launches from Vandenberg AFB which is ideal for reverse orbits (east-to-west over the Pacific). maybe USAF has this requirement.
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  6. #5  
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    it seems this situation was resolved in 2006? from wiki:

    SpaceX challenged the antitrust legality of the launch services monopoly on October 23, 2005. SpaceX is interested in competing for government launch contracts with the Falcon 9 rocket. On January 7, 2006 the Department of Defense gave preliminary approval to the United Launch Alliance.[citation needed]
    In September 2006, the Pentagon renewed their support for ULA, and announced their support to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).[citation needed] The FTC gave their anti-trust clearance on October 3, 2006.[3] The joint venture began operations on December 1, 2006.

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  7. #6  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    why do you say that it is corrupt?


    because it smells like lobbying/corruption/collusion/contributions is a likely factor in attributing a contract that will costs tax payers hundred of millions more than another alternative that is potentially better but prevented from entering an objective competition/evaluation process.

    An the locking in out for as long as it does just when a new competitor is on the scene and making it official just after a hearing stinks.


    ULA launches from Vandenberg AFB

    Theres No technical reasons preventing SpaceX from launching from Vandenberg AFB is there? (assuming they dont already have plans for it)
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post
    why do you say that it is corrupt?


    because it smells like lobbying/corruption/collusion/contributions is a likely factor in attributing a contract that will costs tax payers hundred of millions more than another alternative that is potentially better but prevented from entering an objective competition/evaluation process.

    Are bringing up something resolved 8 years ago...or something more recent? Providing a link for context might help as well.
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  9. #8  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    The point is not the ~anti-trust rubber stamping joke~'s servile result making a virtually monopoly legal, the point is not paying hundreds of millions more for a service. I dont understand why people appear to be dozing off, thats as if I sold your town a single ordinary pencil for 100 millions, and people dont mind paying 100 million, because its legal to get screwed, then you get a 1000$ tax increase and blissfully smile instead of asking hard questions wanting a different result or at least investigate if collusion/corruption was a factor in the outrageous and suspicious waste of money.

    Also it is so suspicious that I would not be surprised if the people responsible were to get nice return-favour jobs or lucrative contracts from Boeing/Lockeed afterwards.


    ( Btw, Monsanto offered to pay 2 million $ to two employees of a Canadian agency to get a favourable decision, when corporations have a billion $ at stake they sometimes see a few million dollars in bribes as "doing business". Bribes are not just money transfers in off shore accounts, it can be in the form of lucrative token contract or jobs afterwards)
    Last edited by icewendigo; May 6th, 2014 at 01:22 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post
    Theres No technical reasons preventing SpaceX from launching from Vandenberg AFB is there? (assuming they dont already have plans for it)
    I assume delta-V. You need significantly more delta-V to launch retrograde from Vandenberg - and from what I know of SpaceX they do not yet have that capability.

    I dont understand why people appear to be dozing off, thats as if I sold your town a single ordinary pencil for 100 millions, and people dont mind paying 100 million, because its legal to get screwed, then you get a 1000$ tax increase and blissfully smile instead of asking hard questions wanting a different result or at least investigate if collusion/corruption was a factor in the outrageous and suspicious waste of money.
    Well, it's more like you are selling a $100 million power plant to a town, and some guy with a generator on a trailer demands his $100 million too. A wise town council might ask the guy with the generator on the trailer "how much power can you generate? What availability? What will operating costs be? Will you provide service for it?" etc.

    If they just handed off the $100 million to the guy with the trailer, no questions asked, they might soon realize they have to spend ANOTHER $100 million to get reliable power from the original "big power" company.

    Also it is so suspicious that I would not be surprised if the people responsible were to get nice return-favour jobs or lucrative contracts from Boeing/Lockeed afterwards.
    So instead they go with SpaceX and get a shipment of Tesla Model S's for the decisionmakers instead?
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  11. #10  
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    Yes the Big Plant excuse is an interesting stretch, as if you must give 100% of your towns energy budget to the bloated Big Plant when the small generator is innovating and providing energy at a lower price and developing the generator heavy version that will compete with the big plant, Imo It is transparent that the contract cuts out SpaceX from competing on the launches it could provide now and in the near future(Falcon Heavy) at a much cheaper cost.
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    Unless you show this is a current story, and not something already resolved years ago, I'm moving it to the trashcan.
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post
    Yes the Big Plant excuse is an interesting stretch, as if you must give 100% of your towns energy budget to the bloated Big Plant when the small generator is innovating and providing energy at a lower price
    Or the big plant provides 100 megawatts and the small generator doesn't even provide 1. And while the town council may decide they like little guys for social engineering reasons, they will likely be voted out of office by people with more practical concerns, like wanting heat and light for their money.
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  14. #13  
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    Unless you show this is a current story, and not something already resolved years ago, I'm moving it to the trashcan.







    ~My God, where do you think you are posting? This is a science forum, we dont allow any funny business aournd here, Thousands of years old books about an invisible man in the sky, or objects that killed people in the last century, now these are decent proper and recent topics, but Reusable Rockets that are just in the process of being developed right now, on a Science forum, are you an heretic or soemthing? its "old news", yeah thats the ticket, and it should go in a trash can. ~
    Last edited by icewendigo; May 6th, 2014 at 02:43 PM.
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  15. #14  
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    it is not like SpaceX is being squeezed out of launch opportunities. they are actively re-supplying the ISS with unmanned craft and will eventually be transporting personel to and from the ISS. they seem to have plenty to do and many plans. i do not understand your anger ????

    from wiki (accomplishments, contracts, and plans):

    In 2006, NASA awarded the company a Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) contract to design and demonstrate a launch system to resupply cargo to the International Space Station (ISS). SpaceX has since flown four missions to the ISS.[6] NASA has also awarded SpaceX a contract to develop and demonstrate a human-rated Dragon as part of its Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program to transport crew to the ISS. SpaceX is planning its first crewed Dragon/Falcon 9 flight in 2015, when it expects to have a fully certified, human-rated launch escape system incorporated into the spacecraft.
    Besides NASA contracts, SpaceX has signed contracts with private sector companies, non-American government agencies and the American military for its launch services, filling a growing launch manifest. It has already launched, for a paying customer, a low earth orbiting satellite with its Falcon 1 booster in 2009.[7] And on 3 December 2013, the company launched its first commercial geostationary satellite from a Falcon 9.
    Future products that are in development include the Falcon Heavy launch system, a full set of reusable launch vehicle technologies intended for use on both Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, and a new liquid-Methane-based rocket engine. The Falcon Heavy is based on Falcon 9 technology, and when completed, it will be the most powerful rocket in the world since the Apollo-era Saturn V. Falcon Heavy can be used to send a crewed Dragon spacecraft on lunar orbiting missions – such as the Apollo 8 mission; or be used to send a modified unpiloted Dragon on a Mars landing mission.[8] Musk has stated that his intention for the company is to help in the creation of a permanent human presence on Mars
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post
    Reusable Rockets that are just in the process of being developed right now, on a Science forum, are you an heretic or soemthing? its "old news", yeah thats the ticket, and it should go in a trash can. ~
    ?? Reusable rockets are great. The politics is a little . . . boring.
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  17. #16  
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    (It may be boring but politics are a large part of what makes them viable or in facilitating their development at this point in human history, hence, politics can greatly foster or hinder the human colonization of the solar system. Without NASA it would be likely that there would not be reusable rocket any time soon, having some of the USAF would imo not only reduce costs[which some disagree with] but imo it would also increase the opportunities and pace of development of reusable rockets, which in turn would help the pace of space colonization)
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  18. #17  
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    So now I'm curious what there is that we don't know about ULA's relationship with NASA. Of all agencies, NASA can least afford to waste money.

    Unless SpaceX can't deliver the goods. But that seems unlikely. This is a credible contractor that has done other space related work. They probably know better than to bid on projects they can't do.

    I wish there were better transparency requirements when the government deals with contractors. I can understand a bit of secrecy on a defense project, but not on civil projects.
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