Lockheed-Boeing Rocket Venture Replaces CEO

Lockheed-Boeing Rocket Venture Replaces CEO

The Lockheed Martin Corp.-Boeing Co. joint venture that has come under fire for relying on Russian-made rocket engines to launch U.S. military and spy satellites has reshuffled its executive suite.

United Launch Alliance LLC, based in Centennial, Colorado, on Tuesday announced that Michael Gass, president and chief executive officer since the venture’s formation in 2006, was stepping down, effective immediately, and succeeded by Tory Bruno, vice president and general manager of strategic and missile defense systems at Lockheed.

“Mike’s track record speaks for itself: 86 successful launches in a row, including many of our nation’s most complex and critical space missions,” Rick Ambrose, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Space Systems and a ULA board member, said in a statement. “Tory is an ideal leader to take the reins at ULA. He’ll bring the same unwavering commitment to mission success that has been ULA’s hallmark, and will apply his proven track record of driving customer focus, innovation and affordability to shape ULA’s future.”

The statement didn’t mention any of the recent controversy surrounding the U.S. Air Force’s costly Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle, or EELV, program. ULA is the sole supplier for the effort, which is estimated to cost $70 billion through 2030, and relies on the Russian RD-180 engine as a first-stage engine for the Atlas V rocket.

Start-up rocket-maker Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX and headed by billionaire Elon Musk, who co-founded Pay Pal Inc. and also heads the electric car-maker Tesla, has sued the Air Force to open more of the missions to competition.

The lawsuit came amid rising tensions between the U.S. over Russia over the latter’s invasion and subsequent annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and raised questions about American dependence on Russian hardware for national-security programs.

Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s deputy prime minister, who was targeted for sanctions by the White House over the Ukraine issue, took to Twitter to issue threats of ending shipments of the RD-180 to the U.S. But government and ULA officials said deliveries of the engine have continued uninterrupted.

The Air Force said it’s trying to certify new companies like SpaceX to launch national-security payloads while developing a domestic alternative to the RD-180.

The service subsequently asked Congress for permission to transfer $100 million within this year’s budget accounts to hold a competition to launch the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program-20 earlier than planned. While some lawmakers have backed the idea, both the Senate and House armed services committees have delayed the request, asking the Air Force to come up with a plan to develop an alternative to the Russian engine by 2019.

SpaceX recently announced plans to open a private spaceport in Texas. A handful of the companies’ suppliers in Alabama recently wrote a letter to state’s congressional delegation, including Republicans Sen. Richard Shelby and Rep. Mo Brooks, urging the lawmakers to support launch competition.

“These companies — though they may not be based in Alabama — draw many millions of dollars each year to the Decatur and Huntsville areas,” the Aug. 1 letter states. “We especially want to emphasize that commercial space transportation and ‘traditional’ aerospace both contribute significantly to suppliers like us. We hope you agree with us that competition and a broader overall set of industry players increase our business.”

It went on, “In this atmosphere of a shrinking federal budget and the threat of other states trying to draw work away from Alabama, the commercial space industry and its global customer base presents an enormous growth opportunity for the region.”

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The names will change, but the level of stupidity will remain the same. Clearly Gass put his foot in his mouth publicly when he complained about SpaceX “causing” the Russians to put the delivery of the RD-180 engines in jeopardy after the US laid sanctions on Russia due to their role in destabilizing Ukraine. Typically the Boeing way is to be much quieter publicly, and more ruthless privately. If you think you have a say in any of what goes on, then you should read this article (http://​thehill​.com/​b​l​o​g​s​/​p​u​n​d​i​t​s​-​b​l​o​g​/​c​i​v​i​l​-​r​i​g​h​t​s​/​2​1​4​8​5​7​-​w​h​o​-​r​u​l​e​s​-​a​m​e​r​ica) which says, quite scientifically, that you don’t.

The cost problem is that, like many European defense companies, there’s not enough beusiness to go around and so these consortiums of competitors (like ULA) are formed. That creates a monopoly, which maintains all th existing infrastructure and personnel, and drives unit costs (and profits) up incredibly. AT&L needs to change their acquisition reviews to exclude all unrelated people and infrastructure in any single bid. Let the company and its stockholders pay for any expenses supporting unused equipment and people with a program portfolio.

BTW, Brendan, Elon Musk WAS a billionaire. He basically went broke supporting Tesla and SpaceX. Now he’s drawing a salary from his two companies that are both subsidized by the taxpayers. That really makes him a “corporate” federal welfare recipient!

So by that definition the guy who delivers mail to your house is a federal welfare recipient, and all those soldiers fighting for your freedom are federal welfare recipients too. I think there’s a significant difference between someone who works for the money they earn and someone who does nothing, or actually in the case of the executives who run ULA they provide as many roadblocks as possible to the engineers trying to do a good job of building rockets to launch satellites critical for this nation’s defense into orbit. I mean, clearly there is a difference.

“He basically went broke supporting Tesla and SpaceX.” That doesn’t seem to be the way Forbes sees it.

No it doesn’t really work that way.

Plus in just spaceX he has billions of dollars of just assets. So no.

The Forbes valuation uses his invested assets and stock portfolio value in three companies. If Tesla tanks, zero. Plus he never repays his government loan/investment. Plus, do you really believe Tesla should be valued the same as General Motors? If ULA successfully fights back, and the SpaceX contract is not renewed, his stock is worth zero. Only his solar power company investment may pan out. So, most of his $6.9B “net worth” is only on paper at today’s silly artificially inflated prices. Taking bets?

Let’s see; believe your opinion of Musk’s wealth or Forbes. oh, dear, what to think.

Taxpayer said: “Plus he never repays his government loan/investment.”

Tesla paid its federal govt. loan off 9 years early,


The Forbes valuation doesn’t give a detailed breakout of his assets. Yes, he makes ~70k a year from Tesla, but unless you get the inside scoop from his financial planner or access to his IRS filings it is likely more than his holdings in Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity.

Tesla repaid its loan already, ahead of schedule, with interest.

Tax where the HELL are you getting your info?

As I mentioned before, they will respond politically. Lockheed and Boeing (the two partners that own ULA) have tremendous political clout and when they flex those political muscles they will make things very tough on SpaceX. After all, imagine the horror if someone came along and started an airplane company that worked like SpaceX. An airplane company that developed products on their own funds at their own risk, and not on the backs of the US taxpayer. Of course, everyone always points to the F-20 Tigershark as the cautionary tale of what happens when a company does that, but, on the other hand, there are a lot of countries dissatisfied with the F-35 right now and what if a company came up with a stealthy alternative to that airplane? What if they got their version through development and testing before the F-35 is operational? To quote Hopper: “You let one ant stand up to us, then they all might stand up! Those puny little ants outnumber us a hundred to one and if they ever figure that out there goes our way of life! It’s not about food, it’s about keeping those ants in line.”

The biggest “problem” for companies like spaceX is the fact that they are going for reasonable prices.

Senators want companies that use tens of thousands for the development, construction and operation of a rocket, plane, etc. This provides jobs to the locals who vote for the politicians who vote them into office over and over.

So sense most people never hear of these things they just vote on the words “I SAVED JOBS AND AMERICAN INDUSTRY!” when they really did no such thing in reality.

That’s the reason why the people that seem to support SpaceX and other such companies are the ones in states where it isn’t a big deal.


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