According to a September 25, 2013 story in Space News, the wrangle between SpaceX and Blue Origin over NASA’s Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center became personal. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk released an email that blasted Blue Origin and the United Launch Alliance, to which Blue Origin may sublet the pad to if it gets control, suggesting that they were motivated by malice for contesting SpaceX’s leasing the pad which launched space shuttles and Apollo missions to the moon.
“From a SpaceX standpoint, we view [Blue Origin] and [United Launch Alliance’s] action as a phony blocking tactic and an obvious one at that. BO has not yet succeeded in creating a reliable suborbital spacecraft, despite spending over 10 years in development. It is therefore unlikely that they will succeed in developing an orbital vehicle that will meet NASA’s exacting standards in the next 5 years, which is the length of the lease. That said, I can’t say for sure whether [Blue Origin’s] action stems from malice. No such doubt exists about ULA’s motivation.
“However, rather than fight this issue, there is an easy way to determine the truth, which is simply to call their bluff. If they do somehow show up in the next 5 years with a vehicle qualified to NASA’s human rating standards that can dock with the Space Station, which is what Pad 39A is meant to do, we will gladly accommodate their needs. Frankly, I think we are more likely to discover unicorns dancing in the flame duct.”
Musk had, at one time, demanded exclusive use of Pad 39A, but changed his mind recently, offering to share with other commercial companies and with NASA as needed. NASA has been attempting to offload the pad to a commercial vendor in the belief that it will only need Pad 39B for its space exploration efforts for the foreseeable future.