Blue Origin has filed a lawsuit against the U.S government over NASA’s decision to award a $2.9 billion lunar lander contract to SpaceX.
In its lawsuit Blue Origin said, its lawsuit is “an attempt to remedy the flaws in the acquisition process found in NASA’s Human Landing System.”
It went on to add, it believes “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.”
In July, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) sided with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration over its decision to pick a single lunar lander provider, rejecting Blue Origin’s protest.
Blue Origin’s lawsuit remains under seal. NASA must file a response to the challenge by Oct. 12.
“NASA officials are currently reviewing details of the case,” said the agency in a statement.
“With our partners, we will go to the Moon and stay to enable science investigations, develop new technology, and create high paying jobs for the greater good and in preparation to send astronauts to Mars.”
It went on to add, “as soon as possible, the agency will provide an update on the way forward for returning to the Moon as quickly and as safely as possible under Artemis.”
Defense contractor Dynetics along with Blue Origin have argued that NASA was required to make multiple awards. In response the GAO said, it “denied the protest arguments that NASA acted improperly in making a single award to SpaceX.”
In a statement Blue Origin said, it remained convinced that there were “fundamental issues” with NASA’s decision and that GAO was not able to address them “due to their limited jurisdiction” and added, it will continue to “advocate for two immediate providers as it believes that to be the right solution”.
SpaceX did not immediately respond to requests for comments.
The background to this story is that, NASA has sought proposals for a spacecraft that will astronauts to the lunar surface under its Artemis program and awarded SpaceX a contract to build such a spacecraft as early as 2024.
Blue Origin has contended that NASA gave SpaceX an unfair advantage by letting it revise its pricing.
Bezos-owned Blue Origin has offered to cover up to $2 billion in NASA costs if the U.S. space agency awarded it the lunar landing contract.