Blue Origin is suing NASA alleging that SpaceX was unfairly awarded a contract designed to help NASA return to the moon. NASA first announced SpaceX had won the Artemis program contract back in April, beating out Blue Origin and defense contractor Dynetics. In response, Blue Origin filed a complaint with the Government Accountability Office, (GAO), claiming NASA had reneged on the idea of hiring multiple companies.
As a result of the complaint, SpaceX’s contract with NASA was put on pause, with the GAO setting a decision date for no later than August 4 as it looked into Blue Origin’s claims. Recently, Blue Origin continued to laud its own technology over SpaceX, with a graphic on the Blue Origin website describing the Starship from SpaceX as “high risk.” When SpaceX revealed just how the Starship would be able to refuel without landing, Blue Origin responded by saying the Starship wouldn’t be able to safely land on the Moon.
As reported by The Verge, Blue Origin has now taken its argument to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, with the suit centering around NASA’s “unlawful and improper evaluation” of the proposals submitted for the Moon landing contract. A Blue Origin spokesperson reportedly explained that the lawsuit is meant to fix problems with the “acquisition process” in the Artemis project. In addition, the spokesperson said the issues outlined in the suit are to ensure competition is fair and any return to the Moon is performed safely. Further details on the lawsuit remain hidden by a protective order, and NASA has yet to comment on the fresh filing.
The lawsuit from Blue Origin could result in NASA and SpaceX’s plans to land on the Moon again by 2024 losing some of the momentum that’s been building, and the delay could be substantial, depending on how long the case goes on for. What remains unclear, is how likely the suit is to be successful, and especially considering the GAO already found nothing to be wrong with the decision made by NASA. Regardless, the latest move seems to clearly indicate that Blue Origin is not ready to give up yet and is willing to apply as much pressure, both in the courts and in public, as it deems necessary.
SpaceX, NASA and Blue Origin have plenty going on elsewhere. SpaceX was recently noted partnering with the Geometric Energy Corporation in Canada, which could lead to advertising being displayed on an orbiting rocket. Meanwhile, NASA shared new details on the Dragonfly space mission, which will look for signs of life on Titan, a moon of Saturn. As for Blue Origin, the company only last month sent its first crewed flight into space, with Jeff Bezos onboard.
Source: The Verge