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Musk to Pentagon: SpaceX ‘Missed the Mark’ on a Launch Bid

  • Inspector general’s report on Shanahan recounted conversation
  • Ethics lawyers approved meeting despite Shanahan’s Boeing ties
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket makes a successful launch with the SES-9 communications satellite.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket makes a successful launch with the SES-9 communications satellite.

Source: NASA/Getty Images North America

Billionaire Elon Musk confided to Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan late last year that his SpaceX lost the competition for a military satellite launch because it “had written a poor proposal that ‘missed the mark,”’ according to the Pentagon’s inspector general.

That candid anecdote was included in the watchdog office’s report this week that cleared Shanahan of allegations that he violated ethics standards by promoting his former employer, Boeing Co.