Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Military Should Consider Other Launch Vendors

In a victory for SpaceX and perhaps for the taxpayers, the independent Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended the Defense Department (DOD) consider other vendors than just the current United Launch Alliance (ULA) monopoly.

Click here to access the report. (Adobe Acrobat Reader required.)

The report's summary states:

DOD analysis on the health of the U.S. launch industrial base is minimal, and officials continue to rely on contractor data and analyses in lieu of conducting independent analyses. Additionally, some subcontractor data needed to negotiate fair and reasonable prices are lacking, according to Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) reports, and some data requirements were waived in 2007 in exchange for lower prices. Mission assurance comprises numerous activities to ensure launch success, but DOD has little insight into the sufficiency or excess of these activities.

James Dean of Florida Today wrote:

SpaceX has publicly objected to the large-scale, long-term purchase. Company officials allege the bulk buy would effectively shut SpaceX’s Falcon launch vehicle out of that market for a decade, limiting competition and wasting taxpayers’ money.

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