SpaceX to Drop Lawsuit Against USAF

SpaceX announced Friday it will drop its lawsuit against the Air Force after reaching an agreement with the Air Force on the future of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program, according to a joint statement. The California-based company filed the lawsuit in April, claiming the service’s latest contract with the United Launch Alliance—a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin—blocked other companies from competing for national security space launches. “Under the agreement, the Air Force will work collaboratively with SpaceX to complete the certification process in an efficient and expedient manner,” according to the statement. “This collaborative effort will inform the [Secretary of the Air Force]-directed review of the new entrant certification process.” In addition, the Air Force also “has expanded the number of competitive opportunities for launch under the EELV program while honoring existing contractual obligations. Going forward, the Air Force will conduct competitions consistent with the emergence of multiple certified providers,” states the release. Air Force spokeswoman Capt. Erika Yepsen said USAF could not yet say when SpaceX will receive its certification or how many additional competitive opportunities are included in the agreement.