Orbital, Lockheed See Pitfalls And Opportunities

By Amy Butler .
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology .

The U.S. Air Force's decision to open the door to other rocket makers to compete for its robust launch work appears to be drawing mixed signals. Lockheed Martin is planning to ramp up its launch services while Orbital Sciences says USAF's practices are contributing to an “unfair playing field” that is tilted in favor of the United Launch Alliance monopoly. Orbital Sciences Corp. manufactures the yet-to-be-proven Antares, as well as the Pegasus, Taurus and Minotaur launchers, which have had steady work for NASA and Defense Department missions. But they see their market space being potentially “poached” in the near and far terms owing to the “unintended consequences” of the U.S. government's decision to establish the United Launch Alliance (ULA) comprising Lockheed and Boeing in 2006, says USAF Lt. Gen. (ret.) Michael Hamel, senior vice president of strategy at Orbital ...

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