WASHINGTON (KCBS) – Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, telling lawmakers that the U.S. should stop relying on Russia for its space rocket technology, and instead, support his other company, SpaceX.
Musk testified before a U.S. Senate subcommittee and used the current tension between the United States and Russia over Ukraine to make a case for SpaceX.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is 100 percent American made, while Musk said their competition, the Atlas V rocket, operated by United Launch Alliance, is partially made in Russia.
“It uses a Russian-made engine and approximately half the airframe is manufactured overseas,” Musk said.
He called it “crazy” to think that the U.S. supply of space rockets depends on getting permission from President Putin, especially in light of what he called, “the de facto annexation” of Crimea.
But Michael Gass, CEO of ULA, said they have been stockpiling the Atlas V.
“We have two years of safety stock inventory. Actually today, we have greater than that in country, and our ability to launch any of the near-term satellites that we need to do for national security,” Gass said.
Musk used the Russia card in part to try and break up the rocket monopoly of the ULA, a joint operation of Lockheed Martin and Boeing. He also said SpaceX could launch military satellites at a much less expensive cost to the government.