Elon Musk Wants the Military to Let SpaceX Launch Satellites

May 30, 2014 9:42 PM

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There’s a custom in Washington that U.S. defense contractors don’t talk trash about their competitors, at least not in public. After fiercely competing for multibillion-dollar Pentagon contracts, the winner often placates the loser with a piece of the action. When Lockheed Martin (LMT) was awarded the contract to build the F-22 fighter jet, it hired Northrop Grumman (NOC) to build the plane’s radar. Boeing (BA) won the contract to build the Air Force’s KC-46 tanker plane and asked Northrop and Raytheon (RTN) to contribute key components. Everyone ends up happy. It’s how it’s always been done.

Elon Musk couldn’t care less how it’s always been done. The chief executive officer of the fledgling rocket maker Space Exploration Technologies—SpaceX for short—is seeking to break into the $68 billion Pentagon satellite launch market. But Musk, better known as the prickly, detail-obsessed CEO of h...

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