Elon Musk is in a fight with fellow space rocket companies Blue Origin and United Launch Alliance (ULA) over a launching pad in Florida,
Dan Leone at SpaceNews reports.
Musk’s SpaceX and Blue Origin want to lease Launch Complex 39A from NASA in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Blue Origin’s proposal would allow multiple space companies to use the launch complex. SpaceX’s proposal gave it exclusive five-year access to the launching pad.
Blue Origin, which is bankrolled by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, filed a complaint with the General Accountability Office over SpaceX’s proposal.
Perhaps because of the complaint, SpaceX later changed its mind and said it was open to letting other companies use the pad.
It was too late though, the damage was done. Because of the GAO complaint, the pad lease won’t be settled until December. NASA wanted to lease the pad by October to cut down on its costs.
Musk is fuming over the whole thing. In an email he accused Blue Origin and ULA, which has been lobbying to keep the pad open, of blocking SpaceX from getting the pad.
The email is below. He shreds both companies, saying SpaceX is fine with letting them use the pad too, because he thinks it’s unlikely they’re even able to do it.
“If they do somehow show up in the next 5 years with a vehicle qualified to NASA’s human rating standards that can dock with the Space Station, which is what Pad 39A is meant to do, we will gladly accommodate their needs,” writes Musk. “Frankly, I think we are more likely to discover unicorns dancing in the flame duct.”
Here’s the full email from Musk:
From a SpaceX standpoint, we view [Blue Origin] and [United Launch Alliance’s] action as a phony blocking tactic and an obvious one at that. BO has not yet succeeded in creating a reliable suborbital spacecraft, despite spending over 10 years in development. It is therefore unlikely that they will succeed in developing an orbital vehicle that will meet NASA’s exacting standards in the next 5 years, which is the length of the lease. That said, I can’t say for sure whether [Blue Origin’s] action stems from malice. No such doubt exists about ULA’s motivation.
However, rather than fight this issue, there is an easy way to determine the truth, which is simply to call their bluff. If they do somehow show up in the next 5 years with a vehicle qualified to NASA’s human rating standards that can dock with the Space Station, which is what Pad 39A is meant to do, we will gladly accommodate their needs. Frankly, I think we are more likely to discover unicorns dancing in the flame duct.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.