Space Commerce

Preliminary Injunction Issued Prohibits Further Purchases From NPO Energomash

By Marc Boucher
May 1, 2014
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Preliminary Injunction Issued Prohibits Further Purchases From NPO Energomash
RD-180 engine.
NPO Energomash

A preliminary injunction was issued late yesterday in the matter of SpaceX vs The United States with one respect to the complaint. The U.S. Court of Federal Claims has prohibited the Air Force and United Launch Alliance (ULA) from “making any purchases from or payment of money to NPO Energomash” effectively blocking any further purchases of RD-180 engines used by ULA on the Atlas V.
Furthermore the injunction also prohibits any further purchases and payment of money to “any entity, whether governmental, corporate or individual, that is subject to the control of Deputy Prime Minister Rogozin.”

The injunction is in effect until court receives the opinion of the Department of the Treasury, the Department of State and Department of Commerce.

While the injunction may be seen as partial win for SpaceX, the result could be the further escalation of tensions with Russia. As well, the injunction does not stop the block buy contract won by ULA or force the contract to be competed, which is what SpaceX was seeking.

ULA has said in previous testimony before congress that they have a two year stockpile of RD-180 engines available for future Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) launches. However they now do not have enough in stock to fulfill their contract obligations to the Air Force.

The injunction was granted on the basis of Executive Order 13,661 issued on March 16, 2014 by the President that blocked all transactions belonging to Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Rogozin in retaliation to the events in the Ukraine.

With over $70 billion in EELV launch money at stake this is just another round in the ongoing battle between SpaceX and ULA.

Update: ULA statement from Kevin G. MacCary, United Launch Alliance General Counsel, in response to Preliminary Injunction Related to National Security

Text of SpaceX Complaint vs The United States
EELV: The Right to Compete
ULA Issues Statement in Response to SpaceX EELV Legal Action
SpaceX to Sue Over EELV Sole-Sourced Contract

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