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The heat of competition? The Air Force has added three launches to its $4 billion bulk-buy contract with ULA, including one that SpaceX had hoped to bid on.
The timing of this contract award, worth $383 million, is most intriguing, coming as it does mere days after SpaceX had dropped its lawsuit with the Air Force. It is almost as if the Air Force was waiting for that lawsuit to go away before it gave more contracts to ULA. Note also the launch cost for these three launches: $383 million for 3 launches, or about $127 million per launch. That’s more than twice what SpaceX charges for a Falcon 9 launch.
It sure looks to me like the Air Force does not have the taxpayers’ interests at heart, and instead is working an inside deal to help its buddies at ULA.