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Air Forces cancels competition for EELV-class launch
Posted: Fri, Jan 30, 2015, 7:10 AM ET (1210 GMT)
Atlas 5 401 launch of NROL-38 (ULA) The US Air Force canceled a competition between SpaceX and United Launch Alliance for the launch of a classified satellite this week, awarding the launch to ULA as part of its existing block buy contract. The Air Force had competed the launch of the NROL-79 mission last year, providing an opportunity for SpaceX to go against ULA. However, the Air Force canceled the competition Wednesday, saying it was in "the best interest" of the government. ULA also won two other launches from the Air Force, also part of its existing block buy contract, with a total value of all three of $382 million. SpaceX dropped its lawsuit against the Air Force last week about that block buy contract after the government agreed to expedite its certification of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and to increase the number of competitive launch opportunities. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Air Force plans to add several GPS satellites to the pool of upcoming missions whose launches will be competed.
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