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Elon Musk's SpaceX files protest challenging NASA contract with Boeing
SpaceX doesn't want to lose on the lucrative deal.
SpaceX has filed a protest challenging a contract that the US space agency NASA awarded to its rival. Now the nearly $150-million contract has been given to Lockheed Martin and Boeing. SpaceX and Boeing have been in a war over the lucrative rocket launch contracts for some time now.
SpaceX, in a statement, said that this will be the first time it will challenge NASA's contract. "SpaceX offered a solution with extraordinarily high confidence of mission success at a price dramatically lower than the award amount," the company told The Washington Post. "So we believe the decision to pay vastly more to Boeing and Lockheed for the same mission was therefore not in the best interest of the agency or the American taxpayers."
United Launch Alliance, or ULA, is the joint venture that Lockheed Martin and Boeing formed in order to fight for the government launch contracts. SpaceX and ULA have been in a legal battle for a long time. Elon Musk's company filed a lawsuit against the Air Force, alleging that it should be eligible to compete for the national security contracts. Before that ULA has been the only provider for the Pentagon, generating maximum revenue for the company.
SpaceX settled the lawsuit in 2015 and also won the right to compete against ULA. Since then the company has won several contracts and also launched a GPS satellite.
Pentagon's Inspector General recently announced a review for SpaceX's certification without explaining the reason for the audit. NASA last month awarded the contract to ULA to launch a spacecraft named Lucy. The spacecraft will examine the trojan asteroids around Jupiter on a mission that will last for 12 years.
In a news release, NASA said the asteroids are "clusters of rocky bodies almost as old as the sun itself, and visiting these asteroids may help unlock the secrets of the early solar system."