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James Clapper Backs Space Launch Industry Competition

James Clapper
James Clapper

National Intelligence Director James Clapper spoke at the 30th Space Symposium held last week about his support for increased competition in the space launch industry, Space News reported Thursday.

Clapper also commended launch services providers SpaceX and United Launch Alliance in response to an audience question following his keynote address, Dan Leone writes.

“The way to drive down cost, typically, is through competition,” Clapper said.

Leone reports the Pentagon was projected to spend $16 billion on launch services from 2014 to 2018 in a 2013 Government Accountability Office report.

SpaceX has petitioned the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to void a majority of the U.S. Air Force‘s bulk order for ULA rocket components to allow for business competition, Leone reports.

According to the report, the Air Force is also reviewing a potential certification for SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket to carry military and intelligence payloads.

Clapper also recognized the commercial imaging industry’s contributions to the intelligence community during his address.

“The capabilities the commercial space has now and the even better capabilities on the near horizon are a critical part of the [intelligence community’s] strategic plans,” Clapper said.

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