The U.S. Air Force has begun the process of conducting the first launch services competition since awarding the monopoly United Launch Alliance (ULA) an exclusive 36-core deal last year that sparked a lawsuit from upstart competitor SpaceX. The Air Force posted a draft request for proposals June 4 to loft the National Reconnaissance Office’s NROL-79 satellite next year. Officials hope to get the work on contract this year, but that could be a thorny path as SpaceX cannot win national ...

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