Blue Origin is suing NASA over the space agency's decision to award SpaceX a $2.9 billion lunar lander contract.
Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Blue Origin, stated that the deal was unfair, and there were fundamental issues that were not addressed.
Blue Origin Sues NASA
The argument between Blue Origin and NASA began in April when the space agency decided to hand the deal to SpaceX instead of giving it to both companies. NASA stated that they could only give it to one company due to funding issues.
In a court filing on Aug. 19, Blue Origin stated that it continued to believe that both companies were needed to manufacture the lunar landing system, which will carry astronauts to the Moon's surface by 2024, according to BBC.
Blue Origin also accused the space agency of improper evaluation during the selection process for the project.
Blue Origin stated that they want the issues identified and the outcome addressed to restore fairness, create healthy competition and ensure a "safe return to the Moon for America."
When the deal was given to SpaceX, NASA's human exploration chief, Kathy Lueders, admitted that the agency's current budget was not enough for two companies because Congress granted it only $850 million out of the $3.3 billion budget that is requested for the project.
NASA also cited the proven record of orbital missions by SpaceX as one of the factors in the selection. The cost also played a massive role in the process because SpaceX's bid was the lowest-priced one.
In July, Bezos offered to pay $2 billion of the space agency's costs. It was the company's attempt to be reconsidered from the project, but it was eventually denied, according to CNBC.
The US watchdog, Government Accountability Office or GAO, rejected the complaint from Blue Origin and Dynetic, saying that NASA had not acted improperly and unfairly and that the space agency handed the contract to the correct firm.
NASA is obligated to file a response to the lawsuit by Oct. 12. Meanwhile, SpaceX is yet to comment on the issue.
Under the Artemis program, the space agency is hoping to return humans to the Moon for the first time since 1972, according to The Verge.
In April, Lueders stated that this important could put humanity on a path to sustainable lunar exploration. It can also help keep the agency's eyes on missions farther into the solar system, like Mars.
Blue Origin Going Head-to-Head with SpaceX
Blue Origin is not only competing with SpaceX to win contracts. It is also competing with Musk's Starship.
Blue Origin is working on a Jarvis project, which is said to be made of stainless steel and propellant tanks.
Project Jarvis is inspired by SpaceX's reusable Starship rockets. This shows that Bezos is emulating Musk's plan to land and reuse both the booster and the upper stage of Starship.
Aside from the said project, Blue Origin is also selling seats on its spaceflight for $28 million to entice customers and investors.
In 2016, Musk announced the Starship project. The public was skeptical of the idea of having a reusable launch system.
In 2019, a lot of people were still doubtful, but after Musk announced a change from carbon fiber to low-cost stainless steel for the primacy structure, the public began to believe it may work.
Project Jarvis has no official launch date yet, but it has been confirmed that Blue Origin is working on it and may even race SpaceX to Mars.
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Written by Sophie Webster