NASA Freezes SpaceX’s Lunar Lander Contract After Blue Origin’s Lawsuit

Published on August 20, 2021
Image Credit: [SpaceX]

NASA has decided to put its $2.9 billion lunar lander contract with SpaceX on hold after Blue Origin filed a complaint against the space agency. 

In exchange for this temporary stay of work, all parties agreed to an expedited litigation schedule that concludes on November 1st


Bezos and company have sued NASA over choosing to use SpaceX for its lunar lander project. The complaint is over NASA originally aiming to award two contracts. Historically, NASA works with more than one contractor for each mission. This helps to ensure that everything happens on time. NASA, however, ended up getting only a small portion of the budget it originally requested for the Artemis lunar lander, so there was not enough money for 2 contracts.

This is not the first time Jeff Bezos’ has complained about this. He has already challenged this decision in April by filing a protest with the Government Accountability Office. When they complained that time, it paused the SpaceX contract for 95 days. Now, during this second round of complaining, Elon Musk’s company has to halt the project all together. Jeff Bezos is saying that the selection process was unfair.

The GAO already dismissed the case because NASA’s evaluation of all the proposals for the mission ‘was reasonable and consistent with applicable procurement law, regulation, and the announcement’s terms.’ But then Jeff Bezos wrote an open letter to NASA stating that he would be willing to waive up $2 billion dollars worth of the payments in return for a fixed-price lander contract.

In both complaints, Blue Origin explained that it is trying to ‘remedy the flaws in the acquisition process found in NASA’s Human Landing System.’ In its most recent round of winning, the company explained that it ‘stand[s] firm in [its] belief that there were fundamental issues with NASA’s decision, but the GAO wasn’t able to address them due to their limited jurisdiction.’ which roughly translates to ‘I am jealous of Elon Musk.’

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