The Russian firm, NPO Energomash, makes engines that United Launch Alliance (ULA) needs to put American military satellites, among other Pentagon equipment, into orbit.
Here's the problem with that. NPO Energomash is directly connected to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the country's space program. Earlier this year, the Obama administration named Rogozin as a target of U.S. sanctions. So by selling engines to ULA, the court ruled, Rogozin was illegally benefiting from U.S. money.
In response to the sanctions, Rogozin tweeted on Tuesday that perhaps NASA astronauts should find another way to the international space station — like a trampoline.
The resulting injunction bars ULA from making any further purchases from NPO Energomash.
"ULA is deeply concerned with this ruling and we will work closely with the Department of Justice to resolve the injunction expeditiously," ULA said in a statement. "SpaceX's attempt to disrupt a national security launch contract so long after the award ignores the potential implications to our national security and our nation's ability to put Americans on board the International Space Station."
The injunction marks a big win for SpaceX, and a huge headache for ULA; the contract at issue is worth as much as $9.5 billion. By 2030, the Defense Department anticipates spending $70 billion on space launches.