WASHINGTON – The US Air Force is looking at early termination of a controversial arrangement the service holds with United Launch Alliance (ULA) after the company pulled out of a Pentagon space launch competition last year. ULA, a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, in November pulled out of the Air Force”s GPS III space launch competition in response to Congress” ban on the use of Russian RD-180 rocket engines to power military space launches. ULA had threatened for some time to skip the competition unless it got relief from the ban on the RD-180, which powers the company”s Atlas V rocket. The GPS III launch services solicitation is a crucial part of the Pentagon”s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program to send satellites into space.
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