Blue Origin, the space exploration company set up by Jeff Bezos, has challenged the contract that NASA awarded to Elon Musk’s SpaceX. According to Bloomberg, Bezos believes that this contract, which aims to develop technology to take humans to the moon, should not be awarded to SpaceX.
In a complaint filed last Friday in Washington federal court, Blue Origin says the agency’s evaluation process was “unfair and inappropriate.” According to the agency, the complaint will be filed confidentially, but the documents in which this protective measure was requested will allow understanding of the content of the complaint filed by Blue Origin.
NASA awarded the contract to SpaceX on April 16. Ten days later, Blue Origin and its competition partner, Dynetics, challenged the award of a $2.9 billion contract to work on the lunar module to return to the moon. In April, Blue Origin lodged protests with the Government Accountability Office, citing flaws in the process. At the end of July, this entity dismissed Blue Origin’s protests, stating that SpaceX’s selection had been made correctly. Then, Blue Origin pulled another trump card, offering Bezos a $2 billion rebate to NASA. Through a letter signed by Jeff Bezos, A The company was prepared to cover the additional costs of $2 billion. to obtain this contract. When the US space agency chose SpaceX, it justified the choice with budget constraints, as opposed to its initial plan. In the first stage, the agency intended to select two companies in this contract, with the aim of promoting competition between two potential suppliers.
To Bloomberg, Blue Origin confirmed filing that appeal in federal court, “in an effort to fix flaws in the process of acquiring NASA’s landing system.” “We firmly believe that the issues identified in this process and its outcomes must be addressed to restore justice, create competition, and ensure America’s safe return to the Moon.”
Budget issues have been a thorn in the side of the mission that wants to take the United States to the moon in 2024. Last week, Publication of a report by the Audit Department of the US Space Agency On the development of next-generation spacesuits revealed high costs as well as delays in the development of such equipment. The report explained that the agency has been developing these suits for 14 years, but NASA faces “significant challenges” in achieving its goal of having the first suits ready by November 2024, when it plans to return to the moon, on the Artemis mission.
NASA has already spent $420 million on the project (about 358 million euros) and is expected to spend another $625 million (533.6 million euros). In addition, persistent delays in the program suggest that it is only possible that the first facts will be ready “at least in April 2025”.
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