Pentagon watchdog to review SpaceX’s certification to launch national security satellites

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The Washington Post

A Pentagon watchdog agency plans to review the certification the Air Force granted SpaceX to launch national security satellites, a key source of revenue for the company founded by Elon Musk.

The move comes three years after SpaceX and the Air Force settled a lawsuit that ultimately led to the Air Force granting the company the certification. SpaceX had argued that it should be given the right to compete against the United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing, for the lucrative launch contracts. At the time, ULA held a virtual monopoly on the contracts for about a decade.

Bloomberg first reported the inspector general’s review.

In a letter to the Air Force leaders, the Defense Department inspector general said that its “objective is to determine whether the U.S. Air Force complied with the Launch Services New Entrant Certification Guide when certifying the launch system design for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle-class SpaceX Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles.”

A spokesman for the IG could not say what prompted the review. SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.




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