Thursday, March 6, 2014
SpaceX Courts Congress As Tensions Rise With Russia
The conflict and rising tensions over Russia's activities in the Ukraine are having a direct impact on the plans of Hawthorne-based SpaceX. SpaceX founder and technology billionaire Elon Musk testified at an open meeting of the United States Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense yesterday, saying that Congress should put priority on using SpaceX's Falcon rocket--as well as the competing United Launch Alliance's Delta rockets--exclusively in its launches, and eliminate the Russian-linked Atlas 5 program as part of the U.S. Air Force's launch program. The United Launch Alliance currently relies on Russian-made launch engines in order to launch critical missions that directly affect national security. Musk said that the ULA's Atlas 5 program is "dependent on Russian-made engines" which can be "cut off at any time." SpaceX has been attempting to gain a foothold in providing launch services for the U.S. Air Force.