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 late last year over the objections of upstart competitor SpaceX. The Air Force posted a draft request for proposals June 4 to loft the National Reconnaissance Office’s NROL-79 satellite, a mission slated for next year.  Officials hope to get the work on contract this year, but that could be a thorny path as ...

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