Wins Injunction To Stop USAF Buying Russian Rocket Engines
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[May 01, 2014]
By Supriya Kurane
(Reuters) — A U.S. Court of Federal Claims
judge issued an injunction late Wednesday prohibiting a joint venture
between Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing from proceeding with plans to
buy Russian-made rocket engines used to send U.S. Air Force satellites
Space Exploration Technologies, the privately held company known
as SpaceX, won the temporary injunction against the U.S. government
and contractors Boeing and Lockheed operating as United Launch
The U.S. Air Force and United Launch Alliance are prohibited "from
making any purchases from or payment of money to NPO Energomash",
Federal Claims Court Judge Susan Braden wrote in the order.
The preliminary injunction does not extend to any purchase orders
placed or money paid to Russian rocket engine maker NPO Energomash
prior to the date of the order.
Lawmakers on Wednesday called for a program to develop a
next-generation liquid-fuel rocket engine within five years,
proposing legislation aimed at reducing U.S. dependence on Russian
engines to launch military and spy satellites.
Moscow's annexation of neighbor Ukraine's Crimea region and the
massing of Russian troops near the border have left East-West
relations more tense than at any time since the Cold War.
SpaceX, which manufactures and launches rockets and spacecraft, last
week filed a lawsuit to protest the Air Force's award of a
multibillion-dollar, non-compete contract for 36 rocket launches to
a partnership of the two biggest U.S. weapons makers.
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The company wants the Air Force to reverse the sole-source award of
36 boosters to United Launch Alliance and open the procurement to
United Launch Alliance, the U.S. Air Force and NPO Energomash were
not available for immediate comment.
SpaceX, co-founded by investor Elon Musk who also heads electric car
company Tesla, says its rockets are U.S. made.
(Reporting by Supriya Kurane in Bangalore; editing by Jason Neely)
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