Blue Origin, the area firm helmed by billionaire Jeff Bezos, is taking NASA to court docket. The corporate filed a grievance with a federal claims court docket on Monday over the company’s choice to award a lunar lander contract solely to rival firm SpaceX.
The grievance, which Blue Origin efficiently petitioned to have sealed, says NASA’s analysis of proposals for the the Human Touchdown System was “illegal and improper.”
“Blue Origin filed go well with within the U.S. Courtroom of Federal Claims in an try and treatment the failings within the acquisition course of present in NASA’s Human Touchdown System,” an organization spokesperson informed TechCrunch. “We firmly imagine that the problems recognized on this procurement and its outcomes have to be addressed to revive equity, create competitors, and guarantee a secure return to the moon for America.”
The Human Touchdown System, a key a part of NASA’s forthcoming Artemis program, is the lander that can return people to the moon’s floor for the primary time for the reason that days of Apollo. NASA goals to have the human lander touching down on the lunar south pole in 2024.
In April, NASA awarded the HLS contract to a single firm — SpaceX, which submitted a $2.9 billion bid. That NASA chosen just one firm, fairly than two, was a shock (the company likes to hedge its bets). Just a few weeks later, Blue Origin and protection contractor Dynetics, which additionally submitted a bid for the lander program, filed separate protests with the Authorities Accountability Workplace over the choice. GAO later upheld NASA’s choice, sustaining that “the [contract] announcement reserved the best to make a number of awards, a single award, or no award in any respect.”
(Learn a blow-by-blow of GAO’s rationale by TechCrunch’s Devin Coldewey right here).
When GAO launched its choice, it appeared like that may have been case closed: SpaceX gained, Blue Origin misplaced. This new lawsuit, filed to the U.S. Courtroom of Federal Claims, is a transparent sign that Jeff Bezos’ firm has no intention of backing down.
For its half, a NASA spokesperson would say little extra to TechCrunch than that the company was notified of the grievance and “officers are at the moment reviewing particulars of the case.”
If a federal court docket submitting represents Blue Origin’s buttoned-up protests, the corporate has additionally been waging a separate assault on social media, releasing a sequence of infographics geared toward discrediting SpaceX’s Starship and NASA’s choice to make use of it for moon missions.
On one infographic, referring to Starship, the phrases “IMMENSELY COMPLEX & HIGH RISK” blaze throughout the picture in crimson; one other described it as “a launch car that has by no means flown to orbit and remains to be being designed.”
The case quantity is 1:21-cv-01695-RAH. TechCrunch has reached out to NASA for remark and can replace the story in the event that they reply.