SpaceX CEO Elon Musk testified before the U.S. Senate with harsh words about the artificially inflated cost of launching spacecraft.
At the heart of Musk’s criticisms is the United Launch Alliance (ULA), a private company that provides the U.S. government with launch services. Musk claims that in comparison to the ULA, SpaceX launches cost $280 million less per launch.
Musk was blunt in his speech, and stated that the Air Force is “paying too high a price for launch.”
“Space launch innovation has stagnated. Competition has been stifled. And prices have risen to levels that General William Shelton has himself called ‘unsustainable.'”
Musk laid out his demands quite clearly: He stated that “robust competition must begin this calendar year,” and named his company as an obvious alternative to the ULA.
It was originally reported back in late 2012 that the Air Force’s EELV program planned to end the ULA monopoly in 2015. At the time, Musk called the development “a watershed moment for the U.S. government’s national security missions.” Clearly, Musk wants to speed up this process.
Musk’s full statement can be read here.