Jeff Bezos’s company Blue Origin has lost an appeal in April to challenge NASA’s decision to award only one lunar lander deal to rival SpaceX. The federal government ruled Friday that although NASA initially said it wanted to award multiple contracts to build a lunar spacecraft that would send astronauts back to the moon, the fact that it eventually chose only one, and which was not blue in origin, was perfectly legal. For those who understand the story (the latest story of the billionaire space race), in April, NASA awarded the Elton Musk space company a $2.89 billion contract to build the first commercial human lander as part of the Artemis mission.
NASA has been quite open about its funding, launching a commercial crew program crew mission for the first time last year, and opening up spacecraft for commercial space companies to share costs. After initially saying that they wanted to select two companies from the three companies for the lunar lander deal that would encourage both the competitive pitch (Space X, Blue Origin, and Dynamics) to compete and act as a safety net, NASA chose only one, SpaceX’s proposed. , Which came in at $2.89 billion compared to Blue Origin’s $ 5.99 billion?
Bezos’s company filed a lawsuit against NASA in the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), claiming that it had “removed the goalpost”, accusing NASA of giving NASA SpaceX inappropriate benefits by allowing it to revise the price of its pitch. . It has accused NASA of unfair criticism in some technical assessments. (Elon Musk’s response at the time was less than mature.) While waiting for the verdict, Bezos apparently tried to hasten a possible withdrawal by NASA, which some saw as a very subtle bribe – a $2 billion waiver from any fees if it was chosen for the deal and paid for an orbit? NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in an open letter – covering test missions and cost coverage.
This led some to suspect that Bezos knew the GAO would not be on his side and would offer NASA another alternative. Now, the GAO, which could review the federal agreement, has concluded that although NASA improperly waived a requirement for SpaceX, it was not serious enough to resume competition – which could delay the actual development and construction of a lunar spacecraft in a few months.