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SpaceX Injunction Dissolved 98

Posted by Soulskill
from the failure-to-launch dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Two weeks ago, SpaceX filed suit against the U.S. Air Force in an attempt to enforce competition for rocket purchases. They argued it was a bad idea to blindly shovel money into Russia's coffers for rides to space, and said there was no way for other rocket manufacturers to get a foot in the door. Last week, it looked like they were getting traction — an injunction was granted, temporarily halting the Air Force's process of buying rockets. Unfortunately for SpaceX, that injunction has now been dissolved. At the heart of the suit was Executive Order 13,661, which blocks the transfer of wealth to people in the Russian Federation who are related to the situation in the Ukraine. SpaceX said that since Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin was the head of their space agency, payments to the agency were effectively payments to him. The U.S. departments of Commerce, State, and the Treasury all sent letters to the court saying this was not the case, and the court agreed. Here's the final ruling."
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SpaceX Injunction Dissolved

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  • by T.E.D. (34228) on Friday May 09, 2014 @03:02PM (#46961707)

    SpaceX said that since Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin was the head of their space agency, payments to the agency were effectively payments to him. The U.S. departments of Commerce, State, and the Treasury all sent letters to the court saying this was not the case, and the court agreed

    Please nobody get worked up arguing against this statement, because that's not really what their arguments were.

    The key phrase from the Judge's ruling is:

    These letters collectively explain that, “to the best of [the relevant Department’s] knowledge, purchases from and payments to NPO Energomash currently do not directly or indirectly contravene Executive Order 13,661.”

    However, that's not how I read the attached letters at all. The first three all effectively say, "Yes, if Rogozin controls Energomash, that looks like it would qualify, but only the Treasury Department can officially make that call."

    The Fourth is actually from the Treasury Department (so its the important one), and it essentially says "it looks like something that technically falls under the order. However, we have to officially say that an entity is blocked before it is, and we don't want to say that about Energomash right now." So basically they get to pick and chose each and every entity to be affected by the Executive Order, and this isn't (yet) one they've picked.

    That makes a certain amount of sense. Because all of this comes from an Executive Order, its really up to the "Executive" (the POTUS), and those under him, who or what gets blocked. If we'd like a general rule that can be applied broadly, that's what laws are for.

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