ULA Takes Its Ball and Goes Home

TDRS-K Lifts Off Aboard a ULA Atlas-V Credit: NASA

TDRS-K Lifts Off Aboard a ULA Atlas-V
Credit: NASA

As threatened, United Launch Alliance declined to turn in a bid for the first openly competed national security space launch in more than a decade.

Here is the statement from ULA:

“ULA wants nothing more than to compete, but unfortunately we are unable to submit a compliant bid for GPS III-X launch services. The RFP requires ULA to certify that funds from other government contracts will not benefit the GPS III launch mission. ULA does not have the accounting systems in place to make that certification, and therefore cannot submit a compliant proposal.

“In addition, the RFP’s Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) structure allows for no ability to differentiate between competitors on the basis of critical factors such as reliability, schedule certainty, technical capability and past performance.

“Further, under the restrictions imposed by the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), ULA does not currently have any Atlas engines available to bid and therefore is unable to submit a timely proposal.

“ULA remains fully committed to supporting America’s national security missions with world-class launch services. We look forward to working with the Air Force to address the obstacles to ULA’s participation in future launch competitions to enable a full and fair competition.”

Note: On the playground, this is called taking your ball and going home. The complaint regarding LPTA is particularly telling. Despite all its protestations to the contrary, the Boeing / Lockheed Martin joint venture is clearly only interested in competing when it can dictate the terms on which the decision will be made.


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6 Comments on "ULA Takes Its Ball and Goes Home"

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  1. Christopher Miles says:

    Man- that reliability thing.

    If everything doesn’t go exactly to plan with the next Space X launch- then the “I toldja so” ULA folks will be out in force.

    “Reliability costs real money!”

    Humph – Russia sourced rocket engines will then be ok again, I suppose – Just as we kinda don’t care anymore, really, about the Crimea.

    Good luck Space X – We needs ya- badly.

  2. The ULA is actually putting pressure on Space X to launch military satellites in a timely fashion (something Space X has had a difficult time doing with its other customers)– and without having to blow up its spacecraft.

    Elon’s going to have platinum white hair after this launch:-)


    • PK Sink says:

      Good thought.

    • Nestos says:

      “Elon’s going to have platinum white hair after this launch:-)”
      Fortunaley they won’t lose their hairs in a few years at ULA, Gass and Bruno are both bald…

  3. I cant tell if that monstrosity NASA is working on is for real or is just to keep the workforce from the soup line. That is a lot of money to pour into something with no goal. At least Elon stated up front the goal is Mars,the rest are just following along acting like they had their own agenda all along. When it comes right down to it a company like ULA has run on pure pork because their was no competition. Hard to believe but honestly for the most part to most employees its just a job. Space X is what brought everything to light and made space flight exciting again. I said right from the start someone might try to take him out or sabotage a Falcon. How did a strut that was rated above ten thousand pounds fail at just two thousand? I was expecting some sort of lawsuit from Space X, maybe that is still in the works.

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