Technology

In leaked email, ULA official calls NASA leadership “incompetent”

Enlarge / Leaked ULA emails are highly critical of Steve Jurczyk, who was NASA acting administrator this spring. (credit: NASA)

In what appear to be legitimate emails from April and May, a senior official of the US rocket company United Launch Alliance (ULA) characterizes the leadership of NASA as “incompetent and unpredictable.”

The statement was made in one of six emails leaked on a hacking forum on Tuesday evening. The leaked emails all involve correspondence between Robbie Sabathier, the vice president of government operations and strategic communications at ULA, and Hasan Solomon, a lobbyist at the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, a large aerospace union.

The emails make claims, some verifiable and some that seem to be wildly erroneous, about the relationship between NASA, the Trump administration, SpaceX founder Elon Musk, and China. The central argument put forth by ULA—a company whose launch business has been damaged by the rise of SpaceX—is that NASA, as led by Trump officials, favored SpaceX for political reasons.

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