U.S. Government Files for Dissolution of Injunction Against Payments to Russia

U.S. Government Files for Dissolution of Injunction Against Payments to Russia

The United States Government filed a request with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims late yesterday asking the court to dissolve its injunction against the government or United Launch Alliance (ULA) from making payments to Russia because it might violate sanctions imposed by President Obama against Russian Deputy Prime Minister Rogozin.

The court enjoined the Air Force and ULA from making payments to the Russian entity NPO Energomash for RD-180 engines, used for ULA’s Atlas V rocket, on April 30.  Judge Susan Braden ruled that no such payments could be made until the court received the opinion of the Departments of the Treasury, State and Commerce that such payments did not violate the sanctions against Rogozin, who oversees Russia’s space sector.   Rogozin was among the first group of Russians sanctioned by President Obama in Executive Order 13661 in March because of Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

In yesterday’s filing, the government provided letters from each of the three government departments that “collectively, demonstrate that, as of the issuance of those letters, purchases from or payments to NPO Energomash would not directly or indirectly contravene” the sanctions.   The government therefore requested that the court dissolve the April 30 injunction and also asked for expedited consideration of the matter.   ULA joined in the motion.

The motion is related to a lawsuit SpaceX filed regarding the Air Force’s block buy of Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle cores from ULA.  SpaceX’s complaint is that the contract was awarded on a sole source rather than competed basis and it did not seek the judge’s injunction against payments to Russia.  The lawsuit did discuss the fact that ULA uses Russian engines and that Rogozin oversees the Russian space sector and that he is sanctioned by the U.S. government, leading the judge to issue the injunction.

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