U.S. Air Force secretary upbeat on SpaceX certification

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 14, 2015 6:15 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Air Force Secretary Deborah James on Wednesday said she was disappointed that SpaceX was not certified to launch military and spy satellites by the end of December as hoped, but said she was confident the company would complete the process soon.

James told an event hosted by the Atlantic Council that the Air Force remained committed to completing the certification process as quickly as possible in order to introduce competition to a market now dominated by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co, the Pentagon's two largest suppliers.

James said it was a question of "when, not if" the privately held company Space Exploration Technologies would be certified to compete to launch U.S. military satellites under the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Chris Reese)