Musk’s SpaceX faces protest from Bezos’ Blue Origin

Multi-millionaire Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin opposes NASA granting astronaut lunar lander agreement to Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin registered a complaint with the Government Accountability Office opposing NASA earlier this week. The move is a protest against the bagging of a big deal by SpaceX.

Registering the complaint

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin filed an objection with the Government Accountability Office toward NASA on Monday.

This move is questioning the space agency’s award of a nearly $3 billion moon lander deal. Conclusively, Elon Musk’s SpaceX bagged the agreement earlier this month.

In a competition versus Blue Origin and Leidos’ subsidiary Dynetics, SpaceX won.

The prize is the deal of $2.89 billion for NASA’s Human Landing System plans.

The HLS plan focuses on creating a lunar lander that can take astronauts to the Moon’s surface.

Subsequently, the plan is supporting NASA’s Artemis missions. For HLS, SpaceX bid variation of its Starship rocket.

Additionally, the bid also includes prototypes of which the firm has been testing at its quarters in Texas.

The Competition with SpaceX

NASA was to pick two of the three teams to construct lunar landers competitively. Thus the exclusive selection of SpaceX came as a surprise since the agency’s primary goals for the program was about holding a competition.

Blue Origin discredited the prize as “flawed” in a comment to CNBC. They further added, saying that NASA “shifted the goalposts at the last moment.”

“In NASA’s expressions, it has produced a ‘high risk’ selection. Their decision rejects opportunities for competition. Additionally, it significantly narrows the supply base and setbacks and jeopardizes America’s arrival to the Moon. Due to that, we’ve filed an objection with the GAO,” Blue Origin comments.

What the protest claims

Blue Origin reported that NASA evaluated the company’s HLS plan to cost $5.99 billion, or approximately twice that of SpaceX. The organization claimed in its protest filing that NASA’s cost for financing both proposals would have been below $9 billion.

Additionally, the cost is how much the agency spent for SpaceX and Boeing to produce competing astronaut capsules below the Commercial Crew plans.

“In neglecting to maintain two sources … NASA’s election decision creates numerous issues for the HLS program and places all of NASA’s eggs in one case,” Blue Origin said in the protest.

What NASA has to say

NASA asked for $3.4 billion for the HLS program in the fiscal year 2021.

However, Congress passed only $850 million.

Thus, in light of that lower-than-expected financing, Lueders acknowledged that choosing only one company’s design for the HLS program was not NASA’s optimal result but inside the agency’s acquisition practices.


Image courtesy of Tech Insider/YouTube

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