Beginning Next Week: InsideCounsel will become part of Corporate Counsel. Bringing these two industry-leading websites together will now give you comprehensive coverage of the full spectrum of issues affecting today's General Counsel at companies of all sizes. You will continue to receive expert analysis on key issues including corporate litigation, labor developments, tech initiatives and intellectual property, as well as Women, Influence & Power in Law (WIPL) professional development content. Plus we'll be serving all ALM legal publications from one interconnected platform, powered by, giving you easy access to additional relevant content from other InsideCounsel sister publications.

To prevent a disruption in service, you will be automatically redirected to the new site next week. Thank you for being a valued InsideCounsel reader!


Space X protests result in injunction for United Launch Alliance

Raises concerns about the origins of components used in ULA rockets

With U.S./Russian relations as frosty as ever, it’s easy recall the days when the two super powers were locked in battle to conquer space.  While interest in landing on the moon may have waned, Russia and the U.S. are still happy to trade blows about the size of each other’s rockets.  Fortunately for entrepreneur and CEO Elon Musk that tension and a resulting injunction could mean a lucrative deal for Space X.

Space X, which manufactures rocket components, filed a bid protest in the United States Court of Federal Claims on April 28. The bid challenged a deal between the United States Air Force and United Launch Alliance (ULA) -- a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing -- which guaranteed the purchase of 36 rocket cores.

Space X took issue because the deal did not offer other equipment providers the ability to win the contracts. In a blog post, Space X said it is, “not seeking to be awarded contracts for these launches.  We are simply seeking the right to compete.”

In addition to issues surrounding the selection of the vendor in the contract, Space X also pointed out that the ULA’s use components made in Russia benefited the country. Given recent comments from Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who suggested that NASA "bring their astronauts to the International Space Station using a trampoline," since it could purchase parts under current sanctions, Space X’s point seems to have struck a chord.

On May 1, a Federal Judge issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting any purchases of Russian rocket engines for U.S. Air Force launches. While the injunction does not cancel any payments already made to ULA, it will freeze any future purchases as the Treasury Department seeks to determine if the component purchased from Russia fall under those currently under sanction.

Space X hopes that the freeze will allow it to complete certification for its Falcon 9 rockets, and then offer them to the Air Force if the ULA contract is renegotiated.


For more on aeronautics, check out these stories:

Judge approves DOJ settlement terms, finalizes US Airways, American Airlines merger

Changing legal culture, involvement of foreign companies may make lawsuits more likely in China after disappearance of Flight 370

Legislators Ask DOJ to Investigate NASA General Counsel


Executive Editor

author image

Chris DiMarco

Chris DiMarco, Executive Editor of InsideCounsel magazine, has a background in multimedia production with previous involvement in projects in which he developed and created content...

Bio and more articles

Join the Conversation

Advertisement. Closing in 15 seconds.