Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin Sues Biden Government Over $2.9B Lunar Landing Contract Given To SpaceX

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin filed a lawsuit against the US government over NASA’s decision to award the $2.9 billion lunar landing contract to Elon Musk’s SpaceX, a spokesperson said in a statement to Sputnik on Monday.

“Blue Origin filed suit in the US Court of Federal Claims in an attempt to remedy the flaws in the acquisition process found in NASA’s Human Landing System,” the spokesperson said. 

“We firmly believe that the issues identified in this procurement and its outcomes must be addressed to restore fairness, create competition, and ensure a safe return to the Moon for America.”

Blue Origin filed the lawsuit after the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) rejected protests filed by the company along with technology company Dynetics over the federal government’s decision to award SpaceX the contract to build a lunar landing system that can take astronauts to and from the moon as part of the Artemis program.

nasa-comet-india
Comet Neowise in India

NASA was expected to select two of three companies competing for the bid: Blue Origin, SpaceX, or Dynetics.

The GAO decided that protests from Blue Origin and Dynetics were groundless, as NASA was within its rights to award the $2.9 billion contract to SpaceX to develop the first lunar landing system to be used in more than 50 years.

Earlier, the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) decision to uphold NASA’s selection of SpaceX as its partner for the development of a human landing system for a lunar mission allows them to continue the development and establish a timeline for the mission, NASA said.

File:BlueOrigin OLS mfg building, Florida (from north).jpg - Wikimedia Commons
File Image: Blue Origin OLS mfg building, Florida

“NASA was notified Friday, July 30, that the US Government Accountability Office has denied the protests filed by Blue Origin Federation and Dynetics and has upheld the agency’s source selection of SpaceX to continue the development of its human landing system,” NASA had said in a statement.

“Importantly, the GAO’s decision will allow NASA and SpaceX to establish a timeline for the first crewed landing on the Moon in more than 50 years.”

NASA added in its statement that astronaut safety remains the highest priority during its mission to establish a long-term presence on the Moon.

The space agency said it will provide updates on the way ahead for the lunar expedition and will continue working with the Biden administration and Congress to ensure funding for the lunar project remains robust.

Bezos Not Happy

Earlier, Jeff Bezos, said in a statement that it has filed a protest with the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) over the federal government’s decision to award Elon Musk’s SpaceX a nearly $3 billion contract to build a lunar landing system that can take astronauts to and from the moon.

“In NASA’s own words, it has made a ‘high risk’ selection,” Blue Origin said as quoted by CNBC. “Their decision eliminates opportunities for competition, significantly narrows the supply base, and not only delays but also endangers America’s return to the Moon. Because of that, we’ve filed a protest with the GAO.”

SpaceX will launch four astronauts aboard an Orion spacecraft for a multi-day journey to lunar orbit. There, two crew members will transfer to the SpaceX human landing system (HLS) that will transport them to the surface of the Moon.

After about a week exploring the surface of the Moon, the astronauts will board the lunar landing system for their return trip to the Orion spacecraft to prepare for the trip back to Earth.

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