As the self-declared noisy newcomer that aims “to revolutionize space technology,” Elon Musk’s SpaceX has likely come under close scrutiny from foreign competitors like Europe’s Arianespace – the world’s leading launch company, capturing more than 50% of the commercial satellite launch market – or Russia’s Energia – the leading rocket-space enterprise in Russia and the head organization in the field of manned space systems. It is not so much because of SpaceX’s current capabilities since it has yet to prove it can conduct many heavy-lift launches consecutively and successfully. Actually one of SpaceX ‘s main asset, in addition to the media fascination it is skillfully fueling, has become its growing ability to build long-term ties with the US government.
In January 2015, despite some legal disputes about to be solved, the Air Force (USAF) and SpaceX have reached agreement “on a path forward for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program that improves the competitive landscape and achieves mission assurance for national security space launches.” As a trusted contractor for the US national security apparatus, SpaceX might have achieved the most important step of its future development. Such public-private partnership will open SpaceX classified doors that only happy few do, and then turn SpaceX partly into somekind of a government-friendly test-ground for national security-oriented space objectives with all the funding and advanced sciences that go with it.