Boeing, Lockheed Sued By Upstart In Space Race...

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Conflict Arises As New Space Era Advances

Last week, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) accused Boeing and Lockheed Martin of conspiring to prevent new competitors -- such as SpaceX -- from getting government contracts for rocket launches. A lawsuit filed in federal court in California says a proposal by the two aerospace giants to form a joint venture to launch payloads into space would violate "antitrust, unfair competition and racketeering laws," Space.com reported on Friday. "Boeing and Lockheed Martin have engaged in an unlawful conspiracy to eliminate competition, and ultimately to monopolize the government space-launch business," the court documents read, according to Space.com. The Federal Trade Commission is due to rule this week on whether the proposal by Boeing and Lockheed to form United Launch Alliance would violate antitrust laws. A watchdog group, Citizens Against Government Waste, on Thursday urged the FTC to rule against the venture. "The structure slams the door on any possible competition," the group's president, Tom Schatz, said in a statement. "To keep the U.S. space launching industry competitive, the Air Force should do whatever it can to open the field to new competitors." A Lockheed spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit, and a Boeing spokesman said it was without merit.