Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin sued NASA on Monday after it awarded a lunar landing contract to Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
Blue Origin filed a complaint Monday in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims following NASA’s April decision to award SpaceX the $2.9 billion contract to construct a lunar lander known as a Human Landing System (HLS) as part of NASA’s Artemis Program. The space agency was expected to offer contracts but awarded only one, citing budget constraints.
“Blue Origin filed suit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in an attempt to remedy the flaws in the acquisition process found in NASA’s Human Landing System,” a Blue Origin spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Bezos protested the decision, initially, writing a letter to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in July offering to waive $2 billion in payments to secure Blue Origin a contract. The space company also filed complaints, denied in late July, with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) alleging NASA violated the law in awarding SpaceX the contract.
“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,” the Blue Origin spokesperson told the DCNF.
Despite GAO’s decision, Blue Origin again alleged in its recent complaint that NASA’s handling of the contract bidding process violated the law.
“This bid protest challenges NASA’s unlawful and improper evaluation of proposals,” Blue Origin wrote in its sealed filing. (RELATED: The Billionaire Space Race: A Competition Between The World’s Richest Men Is Resurrecting An Industry)
NASA’s Artemis program plans to send human astronauts to the Moon as well as Mars. The contract sought by Blue Origin is for a lunar landing system to be used to send the first female astronaut to the Moon by 2024.
Bezos successfully reached space himself last month aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket.
NASA and SpaceX did not respond to requests for comment.
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