Blue Origin loses lawsuit over NASA SpaceX lunar landing contract

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Blue Origin has failed in its lawsuit against NASA upon SpaceX’s lunar landing contract. CNBC reports the Federal Claims Court has ruled against Blue Origin, dismissing the company’s claims. While the opinion is currently sealed, the Blue Origin case had revolved around allegations. POT ignored “key flight safety requirements” when operating the Human Landing System to Spacex.

The opinion will be publicly available sometime after November 18, when both parties to the lawsuit are expected to provide redactions. POT put SpaceX work on hold after the lawsuit, but efforts should resume on November 8.

Blue Origin formerly challenged the contract through the Government Accountability Office just to be rejected in july, principal Jeff bezos‘team to respond with a claim. The firm even tried drastically undermining SpaceX with a $2 billion, arguing at the time that NASA has historically awarded contracts to multiple partners to make sure a mission is launched on time.

The result is not surprising given NASA’s own skepticism. The agency I thought Blue Origin was gambling with its initial $ 5.9 billion proposal on flawed assumptions that NASA would haggle over the price and receive the funds needed to cover a more expensive offer. Blue Origin disagreed with the assessment and felt it made a good offer, but that still suggests that NASA preferred SpaceX for its lower price rather than any unfair criteria.

In a statement, Blue Origin described the ruling as a partial victory. The case allegedly “highlighted significant security concerns” in the HLS acquisition. and showed the need for a “non-judgmental” process that stimulated competition and included back-up systems. The company was also interested in promoting its continued involvement with the Artemis program, including the development of lunar resource systems, robotic and sensors. It’s unclear if Blue Origin will challenge the outcome (we’ve asked about this), but we wouldn’t be surprised if there was an appeal. You can read the full statement below.

Our lawsuit in the Court of Federal Claims highlighted significant security issues with the Human Landing System procurement process that still need to be addressed. Returning astronauts safely to the moon through NASA’s public-private partnership model requires a non-judgmental procurement process coupled with a strong policy that incorporates redundant systems and promotes competition. Blue Origin remains deeply committed to the success of the Artemis program, and we have a broad base of activity in multiple contracts with NASA to achieve America’s goal of returning to the Moon to stay. We are fully committed to NASA to mature sustainable lander designs, carry out a wide variety of technology risk reductions, and provide commercial lunar payload services. We also have a contract with NASA to develop in situ resource utilization technology, lunar space robotics, and lunar landing sensor collaboration, including testing at New Shepard. We look forward to hearing from NASA about the next steps in the HLS acquisition process.

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