WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin filed a legal complaint against NASA at the US Court of Federal Claims on Monday.
- The space company argued that NASA’s $2.9 billion lunar lander contract with SpaceX was “unlawful and improper.”
- Blue Origin has also launched a PR attack against SpaceX’s Starship rocket.
A lawsuit was filed by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space company against NASA, arguing that the agency has wrongfully awarded an advantageous contract to Elon Musk’s SpaceX early this year.
“This bid protest challenges NASA’s unlawful and improper evaluation of proposals,” Blue Origin’s legal team wrote in its court filing.
Filed at the US Court of Federal Claims on Monday, the protest officially signaled the company’s goal to nullify NASA’s decision.
Speaking with CNBC, a Blue Origin spokesman confirmed the filing and said that the company was looking “to remedy the flaws in the acquisition process found in NASA’s Human Landing System.”
“We firmly believe that 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,” Blue Origin said.
In response to the suit, a representative from NASA told CNBC that the agency’s officials were “currently reviewing the details of the case.”
The legal action came weeks after the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) rebuked Space Origin’s protest as it justified the sound judgment of NASA. It backed the agency’s unexpected awarding of the $2.9 billion lunar lander contract to SpaceX last April.
Blue Origin, SpaceX and Dynetics were all competing for what was supposed to be two contracts. NASA, however, ended up giving a single contract after getting a lower budget from Congress.
Prior to the contract being handed over to SpaceX, NASA gave almost $1 billion in concept development contracts to the three Space companies. Blue Origin got $579 million, SpaceX had $15 million and Dynetics had $253 million.
Blue Origin continues on its crusade to get a NASA contract for its Human Landing System program, as the space agency is planning to go back to the moon.
Recently, Blue Origin also put up a PR attack against NASA through SpaceX’s next-generation Starship which would be used by astronauts traveling to the moon. Using comparative infographics, Blue Origin talked about the “unprecedented number of technologies, developments, and operations that have never been done before for Starship to land on the Moon.”
The company also said last week that Starship was “a launch vehicle that has never flown to orbit and is still being designed.”
In response, Musk simply tweeted by saying: “The sad thing is that even if Santa Claus suddenly made their hardware real for free, the first thing you’d want to do is cancel it.”