Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Takes Shot at SpaceX


Engine maker Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne has taken what Florida Today correctly calls a “thinly veiled swipe” at rival SpaceX. The company has put out the ad above that includes a microphone on the left side under the words “Other’s idea of making noise” and one of the company’s success launches on the other with the word “Ours.” The text below the image reads:

While the other guys launch powerful press conferences, we power launches of people and critical payloads. In fact, we’ve powered 14 launches in 12 months with 100% success. While the other guys deliver press conferences, we deliver astronauts and important communication, science and national defense payloads. So, before you listen to their next promise, scan the tag and watch all 14 zero-fail launches. At FutureSpaceUSA.com.

The ads take aim at one of SpaceX’ key vulnerabilities: a shortage of actual launches. The California-based start up successfully launched two Falcon 9 rockets in 2010, but none since December of that year. The next launch is set to take place no earlier than late March — a gap of nearly 15 months.

During that same period, SpaceX has unveiled two new projects: the heavy-lift Falcon Heavy, which is scheduled to arrive at the Vandenberg launch site by the end of 2012; and Grasshopper, a suborbital test vehicle designed to develop technologies that would allow Falcon 9 rockets to become fully reusable. The company is also a contractor for the Stratolaunch Systems launcher.

Florida Today reports that SpaceX spokeswoman Kirstin Brost Grantham called the ad “silly.”

“Making history, producing amazing technology, and shaking up the industry might make us newsworthy, but they aren’t running ads because of our press coverage,” she said. “That we have emerged as a serious competitor in the launch business, with a manifest that is growing every day, that might be another story.”

Florida Today says the ads “have been running for about six weeks in Washington, D.C.-based political media outlets, directed toward policy makers in Congress and the Obama administration. The president’s proposed 2013 budget will be unveiled early next month.”