SpaceX will need to wait until the middle of 2015 before they are allowed to bid to carry out satellite launches for the United States military, after a recent decision by the Pentagon. The Department of Defense previously announced that the United Launch Alliance (ULA), an cooperative venture between space contractors Lockheed Martin and Boeing, would receive the majority of launch contracts from the Pentagon.

Elon Musk, the multibillionaire founder of Space X, criticized the ULA for utilizing Russian rockets, and later sued the Defense Department over their initial decision. The entrepreneur came out publicly, saying a promise of a lucrative job for Air Force official Roger Correll may have played a role in the Pentagon announcement.  

"V likely AF official Correll was told by ULA/Rocketdyne that a rich VP job was his if he gave them a sole source contract," Musk tweeted.

Air Force General William Shelton told the press that the Department of Defense is working to provide SpaceX with an opportunity to bid on some of the planned launches. Defense Department officials say SpaceX meets 80 percent of the requirements needed to be granted launch contracts. The DoD originally stated the process of reviewing the company's launch capabilities would be completed by the end of 2014. However, that deadline has now been pushed back to the middle of 2015, although the Pentagon declined to specify reasons behind the delay.

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) was founded by Elon Musk in June 2002, as a private space development corporation. The company is working toward developing reusable rocket systems, including a first-stage booster that will land on a floating platform for re-use. The first test of this recovery system utilizing the platform was recently postponed.  

"The concept of landing a rocket on an ocean platform has been around for decades but it has never been attempted. Though the probability of success on this test is low, we expect to gather critical data to support future landing testing," SpaceX officials wrote on their Web site.

Pentagon officials stated in their original decision that a record of reliability was one of the reasons that ULA was chosen over SpaceX for launch contracts. However, a reusable rocket would save the Pentagon significant amounts of money over current systems. It is nearly certain that military leaders are closely watching developments in the latest round of flight tests being conducted by SpaceX.

"Over the next year, SpaceX has at least a dozen launches planned with a number of additional testing opportunities. Given what we know today, we believe it is quite likely that with one of those flights we will not only be able to land a Falcon 9 first stage, but also re-fly," SpaceX managers reported in December 2014.

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