Washington, Might 1
Amid protests from Jeff Bezos-owned Blue Origin, the US area company has suspended work on the $2.9 billion lunar lander contract given to Elon Musk-owned SpaceX.
Blue Origin had filed a protest with the US Authorities Accountability Workplace (GAO) in opposition to NASA for awarding $2.9 billion contract to SpaceX for touchdown astronauts on the Moon by 2024.
The US area company was anticipated to select two lunar lander prototypes (together with considered one of Blue Origin’s) however funding reduce from US Congress led the company to pick SpaceX over Blue Origin.
“Pursuant to the GAO protests, NASA instructed SpaceX that progress on the HLS contract has been suspended till GAO resolves all excellent litigation associated to this procurement,” NASA spokeswoman Monica Witt mentioned in a press release, experiences The Verge.
The third firm within the race, Dynetics, additionally protested NASA’s determination to the GAO, which adjudicates bidding disputes.
SpaceX’s award was a key “first step” in a broader programme to safe transportation to the Moon.
In a 175-page protest, Blue Origin accused NASA of misjudging a number of elements of its proposal for its lunar lander known as Blue Moon.
“NASA has executed a flawed acquisition for the Human Touchdown System programme and moved the goalposts on the final minute,” Blue Origin mentioned in a press release.
Calling NASA’s determination “excessive danger,” the corporate mentioned that the choice “eliminates alternatives for competitors, considerably narrows the availability base, and never solely delays, but additionally endangers America’s return to the Moon. Due to that, we have filed a protest with the GAO”.
Musk responded to Blue Origin’s protest with a tweet: “Cannot get it up (to orbit) lol”.
The contract is a part of NASA’s Artemis programme, which goals to return astronauts to the Moon by 2024 as a stepping stone to the primary human mission to Mars.
4 astronauts aboard the SpaceX’s Crew Dragon-2 arrived on the Worldwide House Station this week for a six-month mission. — IANS