SpaceX filed an official protest at the US Government's Office of Accountability (GAO) after NASA awarded a competitor to the United Launch Alliance a Lucas launch contract, an interplanetary probe designed to study a belt of unique asteroids gathered around the orbital swath of JAPIER
Declared January 31, SpaceX believes that NASA has taken a decision against the best interests of the agency and US taxpayers by awarding ULA a Lucy Starter Contract at $ 148 Million, Price, which the company regards as "a lot more" [expensive]
Update nd our history for GAO protest SpaceX a contract for the launch of NASA with comments by NASA and ULA. https://t.co/qqCsnNatu0
̵1; Jeff Foust (@jeff_foust) February 14, 2019
With a performance approximately equivalent to the SpaceX Falcon 9 Block 5 missile in configuration for (LAO) to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO), the ULA variant Atlas V 401 is the simplest version of the family of rockets with the lowest relative performance without any solid rocket boosters. According to the company's RocketBuilder, the Atlas V 401 was registered at a base price of $ 109 million. In 2017, SpaceX's Falcon 9 was included in the 62 million-dollar base for a rescue mission, the highest launch value of the missile launch (for US $ 530 million for the USAF GPS III satellite) was commissioned at $ 83 million with three subsequent GP III release contracts awarded for $ 97 million.
Compared to virtually any possible short-term startup contract On the horizon, the contracts for launching GPS into SpaceX are acting it is one of the worst rates for Falcon 9 where the customer needs extra security mission and the entire rocket should be spent during launch. In other ways, NASA is likely to be able to obtain the reliability, performance and confidence in the mission that Falcon 9 wants / needs, maybe 50 million dollars less than the cost of the ULA launch, equivalent to a reduction of the price with more than one third marker. Lucy's space will be limited to $ 450 million, excluding launch costs, which means that the choice of SpaceX over ULA could reduce the total cost of the mission by at least 8-10%.
NASA rises to the top of Atlas V 401, March 2018 (Pauline Acalin)
Panorama of Atlas V 401, March 2018 (Pauline Acalin)
SpaceX, TESS. (SpaceX)
After launching in April 2018, the B1045 landed on OCISLY and was repaired for a second release in just 5 days on June 29th. (Tom Cross)
"Since SpaceX has begun exporting missions to NASA, this is the first time the company has challenged one of the agency's decisions. SpaceX offers a solution with extremely high confidence for the success of the mission at a price that is significantly lower than the amount of the prize, so we believe that the decision to pay significantly more for Boeing and Lockheed for the same mission is therefore not in the interest of the agency or American taxpayers. "The fact that Lucy's mission faces a unique challenging trajectory offers only one window to launch in about three weeks after the projected effective mission becomes impossible. Skipping this window may cause NASA to cost hundreds of millions of dollars in processing and delay if it does not cause an unlawful revocation of the mission. In this way, NASA and ULA sign a contract to start the contract and a ~ 50% premium in respect of what the ULA claims to be "Atlas V's leading world graphics." Except for the rest of the ULA, Delta IV, Atlas V has a reputable attempt to remain faithful to the agreed marketing goals. However, Falcon 9 "Scheduling Security" continues to improve as the vehicle starts maturing
It is true that while Falcon 9 has become much better with a reliable start within 5-10 days of his on-site Static Fire Test, SpaceX continues to fight to start a payload within a week or two customer goals. However, October 2021 is more than two and a half years, giving SpaceX an unusually long time and dozens of dozen Falcon 9 launches to reach a level of operational maturity and design stability comparable to Atlas V, which has changed. Minimum for 16+ years and 79 shots.
Falcon 9 B1046 prepares for its third launch and restoration, December 2018 (SpaceX)
Falcon 9 B1046 is depicted here, landing after its third successful launch, December 2018. In October 2010, NASA awarded of a $ 187 million ULA contract to launch its orbit for MAVEN Mars at the Atlas V 401. In December 2013, ULA won a $ 163m contract for commissioning InSight Mars for Atlas V 401. In January 2019 ULA has received a NASA Lucy spacecraft contract at a price of $ 148.3M for the launch of the Atlas V 401 from 2021. Put simply, if ULA uses dartboard and eye bandage to determine contract pricing or aggressive reverse inflation, the very existence of SpaceX is already fueling the flames of competition, especially when startup contracts compete directly with their agencies or companies moms.
Whether the SpaceX Protest is not fully justified or ending up with anything, it can be ensured that the fact that SpaceX is there to compete with ULA has forced the company to cut $ 20-40 million from the price otherwise it would delight NASA. Saved another $ 50 million. It will certainly not be the worst thing that can happen to US taxpayers, but that's not the end of the world.
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