Blue Origin Protests NASA’s Awarding of Moon Lander Contract to SpaceX

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Blue Origin, the space rocket company backed by billionaire Jeff Bezos, is formally challenging the $2.9-billion (roughly Rs. 21,650 crore) Moon lander contract awarded by NASA to rival Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

Blue Origin said on Monday it had filed a protest with the federal Government Accountability Office, accusing NASA of moving the goalposts for contract bidders at the last minute.

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NASA early this month awarded SpaceX the contract to build a spaceship to deliver astronauts to the moon as early as 2024, choosing Musk’s company over Blue Origin and defense contractor Dynetics.

The sought-after project aims to put humans back on the moon for the first time since 1972.

“NASA has executed a flawed acquisition for the Human Landing System programme and moved the goalposts at the last minute”, Blue Origin said in an emailed statement.

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“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.”

Musk’s SpaceX bid alone while Amazon founder Bezos’s Blue Origin partnered with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Draper.

The filing of the 50-page protest by Blue Origin was reported earlier by the New York Times.

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© Thomson Reuters 2021


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