ULA says it was not authorised to contest with SpaceX for Air Force launch

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) and Boeing (BA.N) pronounced on Friday it was not given an event to bid opposite opposition SpaceX for a arriving launch of a U.S. Air Force’s tiny X-37B space plane.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson disclosed during congressional testimony on Tuesday that a use was formulation to fly a fifth X-37B goal on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

“ULA did not have a event to bid for a Air Force’s fifth X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) goal that was recently awarded. ULA stays entirely committed to stability to support America’s inhabitant confidence missions with world-class launch services,” a association pronounced in a statement.

Only United Launch Alliance and SpaceX are approved to launch U.S. troops satellites.

The Air Force on Friday declined to endorse that it awarded a agreement to Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, though soliciting other bids. It also declined to contend when a agreement was awarded or how most it is worth.

Four prior X-37B missions were launched by United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rockets.

SpaceX’s initial publicly disclosed launch agreement for a Air Force was awarded final year for a next-generation Global Positioning System satellite moody in 2018. A second GPS launch agreement was awarded in March. The contracts are valued during $83 million and $96.5 million respectively.

United Launch Alliance did not bid for a initial GPS launch agreement though did contest and mislaid a second.

In May 2016, a U.S. National Reconnaissance Office disclosed it had hired SpaceX to launch a view satellite aboard a Falcon 9. The mission, that was organised by an intermediary, Ball Aerospace, took place final month.

SpaceX is owned and operated by record businessman Musk, who is also arch executive of electric automobile builder Tesla Inc (TSLA.O).

(Reporting by Irene Klotz; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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