Blue Origin has sued NASA. Blue Origin is a private aerospace agency. It is owned by Jeff Bezos. The company has sued NASA over the awarding of an Artemis contract. For its USD 2.9 billion Moon lander program, NASA has selected SpaceX. SpaceX is also a private aerospace agency. It is owned by Elon Musk. The contract is a part of the agency’s Artemis program. The decision to sue NASA comes after the Government Accountability Office denied Blue Origin’s challenge against the awarding of the contract. The Washington headquartered company had earlier protested NASA’s decision. Blue Origin in its lawsuit claimed flaws in NASA’s acquisition process. It said that the lawsuit will create competition and ensure fairness.
NASA had earlier picked up SpaceX for the Moon lander program. Both SpaceX and Blue Origin were bidding for the prestigious contract. Besides, Dynetics was also bidding for it. Dynetics is an IT company. NASA and the Department of Defense are its primary customers. After NASA awarded the contract to SpaceX, Blue Origin and Dynetics raised the matter with the Government Accountability Office. Following this, NASA asked SpaceX not to go ahead with the contract and asked Musk’s firm to wait for the accountability office’s decision. The office in July squashed Blue Origin’s protest. The verdict paved the way for SpaceX to resume the work.
According to the ruling passed by the accountability office, the space agency complied with contracting law while awarding the contract to SpaceX. The contract was about developing a lunar lander. NASA will use the lander to land astronauts on the lunar surface. NASA is planning to return humans to the Moon after 50 years. NASA has decided to launch three flights under its Artemis program. The third and final flight will take humans to Moon. The agency is aiming to launch the flight in 2024 that will see two astronauts including the first woman landing on Moon. However, Blue Origin’s lawsuit is likely to delay NASA’s plan to send astronauts to the Moon. NASA had hinted that it will select two lander prototypes that will be developed further. It was likely that both SpaceX and Blue Origin will get a chance to take forward their work. But a cut in funding by the US Congress forced the space agency to pick one between SpaceX over Blue Origin.