Uneasy lies the head of ULA execs...
He was able to do that because he could afford to operate at a loss early on--what with the Paypal fortune.
There was a man who came before him named Beal, with a powerful but simple pressure-fed concept. When Musk was forced off the coast due to "range safety" I thought he might fold up.
Boeing and Lockheed-Martin both have their own Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles (Delta IV and Atlas V respectively), and before they cut their losses and became one big happy fleet under ULA, LockMart was suing Boeing over EELV data theft:
The complaint alleges that Boeing and the individual defendants, together with other Boeing employees, actively participated in the misappropriation of Lockheed Martin's proprietary information and then "covered up" their activity by misrepresenting to both Lockheed Martin and the Air Force...
This isn't the first time Boeing employees played dirty pool: http://nlpc.org/stories/2010/03/10/n...boeing-scandal
The central figure in the scandal was Darleen Druyun, the former Air Force official who negotiated the deal with Boeing and soon after took a job with Boeing.
Musk fought back...
This quote is very telling:
“'I am a little disappointed' with the Air Force, Musk said. 'It is now practically the sole holdout of all the world’s agencies, the sole entity' that has not purchased a Falcon 9 rocket."
There is a group called The Aerospace Corporation--they called for EELVs, and have a history of talking out of both sides of their mouths. They didn't like the idea of NASA building its own rockets--wanting the commercial world (meaning them) to step up. But when a real commercial rocket came to the for--the release some white paper or other questioning whether we needed in house capability after all:
They got caught:
A number of years ago, Aerospace wanted to go public, a move that would have created a windfall for some individuals within the company. The USAF blocked the move and that’s where it stands today, as a federally funded effort.
There is a bit of a thaw:
The EELV lobby has teeth, still. The whole concept of pushing Rube Goldberg Depots over heavy lift--even when one of ULA's own men wrote that the cost savings just aren't there ( http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1447/1
) is proof enough of that.
The damage was done, and the myths still circulate.
Musk still needs to watch his back.
For now, both SLS and Space X are winning. Musk looks to inherit LEO and GEO, and NASA/SLS BEO, with ULA eating dust.
Even Boeing, having learned their lesson, is warming to heavy lift now that EELVs may be on the way out.
Bigelow's largest module can now be lofted, with Boeing's new upper stage:
But for most comsat missions, Musk's rocket is perfect.