SpaceX and the U.S. Air Force have reached a settlement on a dispute involving the military’s expendable rocket program.
In a post this afternoon, SpaceX wrote that it had come to an agreement with the Air Force over a lawsuit the private space company filed last year, alleging an unfair bidding system for launch services under the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program (EELV).
The EELV program “provides the United States affordable, reliable, and assured access to space with two families of launch vehicles: Atlas V and Delta IV.” This is according to the Air Force, which awarded a contract in late 2013 for the launch vehicles to United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
The settlement, SpaceX said, “improves the competitive landscape and achieves mission assurance for national security space launches.”
Earlier this week, SpaceX announced a $1 billion investment by Google and Fidelity that valued the company at $10 billion.
Last April, SpaceX protested the ULA contract, alleging it had not been permitted to compete for the government contract, which it said, “was granted to ULA on a sole-source basis without any competition from other launch providers.”
Under the terms of the settlement announced today, “the Air Force will work collaboratively with SpaceX to complete the certification process in an efficient and expedient manner. … The Air Force also has expanded the number of competitive opportunities for launch services under the EELV program while honoring existing contractual obligations.”