This editorial cartoon by Steve Hall appeared in the April 25, 2016 Florida Today.
Florida Today reports that the SpaceX bid for its first national security mission came in at forty percent below what the U.S. Air Force anticipated.
Reporter James Dean writes:
SpaceX has slashed the going rate for launches of Global Positioning Systems satellites, highlighting the challenge United Launch Alliance faces as it is forced to compete for some national security missions.
SpaceX’s winning bid of $82.7 million for a GPS III launch, announced Wednesday, was 40 percent below what the Air Force had estimated the mission might cost, a senior Air Force official said Thursday.
The deal emerged from the first contract opened to competition by the Air Force in more than a decade, a period during which only ULA was certified to perform such launches.
But apparently unable to approach SpaceX’s price, ULA chose not to bid for the GPS III mission last fall, scuttling the promised competition.