If you have been following the controversy surrounding SpaceX’s efforts to break into the military launch market, then you know what founder Elon Musk’s big complaint is: lack of competition. Up until last week, only one provider of launch services was certified by the Air Force to loft military satellites into orbit. That provider, a joint venture of Boeing Boeing and Lockheed Martin Lockheed Martin called United Launch Alliance (ULA), has enjoyed a de facto monopoly since its founding in 2006. Musk says this arrangement invites abuse, and is trying to overturn a 2012 sole-source award of 36 rocket cores to ULA.
(Disclosure: Boeing and Lockheed Martin contribute to my think tank; Lockheed is a consulting client.)