SpaceX founder Elon Musk waved the American flag before a Senate committee in an attempt to obtain contracts to launch U.S. defense satellites into orbit.

Musk, who also founded car-maker Tesla, pointed out that SpaceX rockets are entirely made in the United States, compared to its primary competitor having an engine from Russia and additional components made overseas. He went on to say that mixing his company into the heavy lift business would create a level of competition that is currently missing from the market.

"Our Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles are truly made in America. We design and manufacture the rockets in California and Texas, with key suppliers throughout the country, and launch them from either Vandenberg AFB or Cape Canaveral AFS. This stands in stark contrast to the United Launch Alliance's (ULA) most frequently flown vehicle, the Atlas V, which uses a Russian main engine and where approximately half the airframe is manufactured overseas," Musk said to the Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.

ULA CEO Michael Gass defended his company pointing out that the current system works and that each of its 68 launches has been successful. ULA was formed by the aerospace firms Lockheed and Boeing.

"I believe leveraging the demand of the commercial sector is smart," Gass said. "But relying on commercial demand to enable national security carries huge risks, both to the rocket supplier and to its government customers."

The SpaceX heavy lift rockets are not yet ready to handle launches, but the company has been sending supply ships up to the International Space Station using the Falcon 9.

Musk also hit upon a point that is dear to all politician's hearts, cost savings, a topic particularly important now in light of recent defense spending cuts.

"The Air Force and other agencies are paying too high a price for launch. In FY13 the Air Force paid on average in excess of $380 million for each national security launch, while subsidizing ULA's fixed costs to the tune of more than $1 billion per year, even if the company never launches a rocket.  By contrast, SpaceX's Falcon 9 price for an EELV mission is well under $100M-at least a $280 million per launch difference, which in many cases could pay for the satellite and launch combined - and SpaceX seeks no subsidies to maintain our business," he told the senators.

Musk's final point was ripped from today's headlines as he noted that the U.S. has just severed all military ties with Russia endangering the supply of engines for the Atlas V rocket that is now handling U.S. defense satellite launches.

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