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SpaceX Wins Preliminary Injunction in Lawsuit Against U.S. Government

The injunction restricts Boeing and Lockheed from dealing with a Russian supplier.

Asa Mathat

The United States Court of Federal Claims has issued a preliminary injunction that prevents a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin from working with a Russian rocket engine supplier, following a lawsuit filed by SpaceX.

Elon Musk’s Hawthorne, Calif., private spaceflight company officially lodged its complaint against the U.S. government on Monday, objecting to a sole-source contract awarded to United Launch Alliance for military-satellite launches. SpaceX argues that it is qualified to compete for such contracts and can deliver its rockets for a fraction of what the rival joint venture charges.

During a press conference last week, Musk pointed out that United Launch Alliance uses engines made by NPO Energomash, a company affiliated with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

It’s costing “U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars for no reason and to add salt to the wound, the primary engine used is a Russian engine,” he said.

Referring to the conflict in the Ukraine, Musk added: “It’s very questionable in light of international events. It seems like the wrong time to send hundreds of millions of dollars to the Kremlin.”

The U.S. government has issued several recent restrictions on trade and interactions with Russia, some of which specifically named Rogozin.

In her order, Judge Susan Braden wrote that the U.S. Air Force and United Launch Alliance are restricted from “making any purchases from or payment of money to NPO Energomash or any entity, whether governmental, corporate or individual, that is subject to the control of Deputy Prime Minister Rogozin, unless and until the court receives the opinion of the United States Department of the Treasury, and the United States Department of Commerce and United States Department of State, that any such purchases or payments will not directly or indirectly contravene” a recent executive order.

Responding to the earlier sanctions, Rogozin tweeted, according to NBC News: “After analyzing the sanctions against our space industry, I suggest to the USA to bring their astronauts to the International Space Station using a trampoline.”

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