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SpaceX Loses Lawsuit Against U.S. Air Force Over Starship Funding

4 Oct 2020, 17:34 UTC
SpaceX Loses Lawsuit Against U.S. Air Force Over Starship Funding
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Starship lifts off on a point to point flight. (Credit: SpaceX)

by Douglas MessierManaging Editor

A federal judge had denied SpaceX’s claim that the U.S. Air Force should have provided development funding for its Starship booster, according to media reports.

USAF awarded $2.2 billion in contracts in October 2918 to Blue Origin, Northrop Grumman and United Launch Alliance (ULA) to help the companies develop new rockets to launch national security payloads. SpaceX’s proposal for Starship funding was rejected.

U.S. District Court Judge Otis Wright II said the Air Force’s conclusion that Starship was too risky and expensive for its needs was not arbitrary, capricious or in violation of the law, Reuters reports.

Wright’s Sept. 24 order contained information about the Air Force’s concerns about SpaceX’s proposal, Reuters said.

According to the order, part of SpaceX’s pitch to the Air Force included a previously unreported less-reusable version of Starship whose upper stage would not return to Earth after delivering a payload into orbit – a “substantial” design change to the rocket’s fully reusable architecture that the Air Force considered too complex of a challenge.

The order was briefly posted online last month before being sealed because it contained sensitive ...

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