The Pentagon General Inspectorate said it would begin evaluating the Air Force certification of SpaceX's first launchers, the Falcon 9 and the Falcon Heavy, years after a legal battle led to a victory for the company founded by Elon Musk "Our goal is to determine whether the US Air Force has complied with the New Entrant Certification Guide for Launch Services by certifying the launch system design for the SpaceX Falcon 9 launcher of Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle," said the Inspector General a memo to Air Force secretary Heather Wilson was sent on Monday. SpaceX's Air Force certification in 2015 enabled the company to take on military payloads and compete on the space launch launched by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between leading defense companies Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. , At the time, Musk said he would go into the startup business to end part monopoly on military space launches.
The review will begin this month, the memo said, and will be conducted at the Space and Missile Systems Center in El Segundo, California.
The memo to Wilson was signed by Michael Roark. Substitute for Intelligence and Special Program ratings. There was no reason for the reasons for the rating. Bruce Anderson, a spokesman for the Inspector General, had no immediate opinion on what had led to the assessment.
SpaceX representatives declined to comment. Air Force spokesman Brigadier General Edward Thomas said the service has no immediate comment.
The Air Force certified SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket to transport military satellites after a bitter dispute between Musk and the service. As a result, SpaceX agreed to close a lawsuit against US military satellite launches to the ULA joint venture.
Since certification, SpaceX has won two competitions against ULA, including the launch of the first US GPS III satellite in December.
By Tony Capaccio