The World Trade Organization has announced that it will not rule on the European counter claim alleging improper US support for Boeing’s large aircraft business until mid-September, pushing it closer to the Air Force’s decision on the winner of the KC-X tanker contract. The WTO’s announcement came on the heels of the recent public release of its ruling in the US case against Europe on large aircraft subsidies for Airbus. The WTO ruled that Airbus, a subsidiary of EADS, did receive some improper subsidies. Even though Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., declared victory in the WTO ruling against the Europeans, saying it “puts any doubts to rest.” the impact of the decision is anything but clear for KC-X. That’s because the first WTO ruling may be appealed, the countersuit is still pending, and, so far, the Pentagon has kept the trade dispute out of KC-X. (Murray release) (See also Wall Street Journal report.)
NASA, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance are all preparing to launch their next-gen rockets from Florida’s Space Coast, two of them before the year is out. One is expected to liberate the U.S. launch enterprise from its reliance on Russian-made RD-180 engines, while all three rockets could eventually carry astronaut crews.