Air Force starts search for an RD-180 replacement

Although the supply of Russian-built RD-180 engines that power the first stage of the Atlas V do not appear to be in the same level of jeopardy as feared earlier this year—United Launch Alliance took delivery of two of those engines last week—the US Air Force is starting to lay the groundwork for development of [...]

Court presses SpaceX and Air Force to resolve case in mediation

In a pair of orders issued Thursday, a federal court judge pushed SpaceX and the US Air Force to resolve the ongoing lawsuit over the EELV block buy contract through mediation rather than in the courtroom.

In the first order, Judge Susan Braden directed the Air Force and SpaceX to take the first steps towards [...]

Senators debate RD-180 replacement, EELV competition

A hearing several days ago held jointly by subcommittees of the Senate Commerce Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee on space access issues covered two of the key issues facing that topic in recent months: developing a domestic replacement for the RD-180 and competition for Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) missions. However, members showed little [...]

At Future Space, members of Congress discuss future of space legislation

On Thursday, the Future Space Leaders Foundation held Future Space 2014, a conference oriented primarily to students and young professionals to discuss “cross-cutting issues” in space. The event included talks by four members of House, who discussed a range of issues about civil, commercial, and military space policy.

Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS), chairman of the [...]

House members press NASA for information on “epidemic of anomalies” with SpaceX missions

Three members of Congress from Alabama and Colorado have asked NASA to provide information on what they receive to be an “epidemic of anomalies” on missions performed by SpaceX.

“Recent news reports have shown that an epidemic of anomalies have occurred during SpaceX launches or launch attempts,” write Reps. Mo Brooks (R-AL), Mike Coffman (R-CO), [...]

DOD official defends EELV block buy, endorses launch competition

While the Senate gears up for a joint hearing Wednesday on space access, some members of the House Armed Services Committee used a July 10 hearing on Defense Department acquisitions issues to grill a top Pentagon official on the topic of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV)

“We don’t seem to be as encouraging of [...]

Senate committees planning joint hearing on launch issues

A rare joint hearing of subcommittees of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Senate Commerce Committee will examine American reliance on a Russian-manufactured rocket engine and other space access issues next week. The hearing, by Armed Services’ strategic forces subcommittee and Commerce’s space subcommittee, is scheduled for Wednesday, July 16, at 9:30 am. The Commerce [...]

ULA joins call for dismissal of SpaceX suit

United Launch Alliance (ULA) has formally joined the Air Force’s call for the Court of Federal Claims to dismiss SpaceX’s protest of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) block buy contract. As first reported by Space News yesterday, ULA, in its role as “defendant-intervenor” in SpaceX’s suit against the Air Force, filed a motion to [...]

Air Force seeks to dismiss SpaceX EELV suit

In a motion filed with the Court of Federal Claims this week, the Air Force seeks to dismiss SpaceX’s lawsuit against it protesting the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) block buy contract the service awarded to United Launch Alliance (ULA), arguing that SpaceX missed its chance to protest the award by two years.

“SpaceX’s complaint [...]

McCain presses Air Force for information on RD-180 costs

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) opened on Friday a new front in the ongoing debate about the availability of the RD-180 engine and proposals to develop a domestic replacement. McCain’s office announced that the senator sent a letter to Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense fo acquisition, asking questions about how much the RD-180 engines cost and [...]