Reports have surfaced that the U.S. Defense Department (DoD) will push aside U.S. and Russian joint space programs and promote Elon Musk’s SpaceX venture as a competitor to win U.S. Military contracts. SpaceX will be in direct competition with the reliable joint venture known as the United Launch Alliance, which dominates existing military satellite launch missions. ULA is a proven launch joint venture between Boeing Company and Lockheed Martin Corporation. The U.S. military wants to increase GPS satellite launches as well as cyber defenses. On February 2, 2015, the President of the U.S will announce new programs to protect U.S. intelligence satellites from cyberattacks. The DoD is spending $7.1 billion on military space in the upcoming budget for 2016.
It is expected that Musk can bid on new military launches at lower prices and create competition in the market. In addition, the U.S. has an objective to replace Russian-made engines used on the Delta IV and V ULA missions. It is clearly a political strategy to continue to lower the defense budget and by using private industry for military space related missions. SpaceX, a Silicon Valley venture start-up of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, began its venture with heavy funding from the U.S. Government. Experts in the Defense sector have questioned the reliability of SpaceX launch systems.