Blue Origin loses lawsuit against NASA over Artemis HLS contract
In July, Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos penned an open letter to NASA, opposing the space agency's decision to award the Artemis lunar lander contract to Elon Musk-led SpaceX. Now, the Federal Court of Claims has ruled against Blue Origin in a lawsuit about the matter and has rubbished the company's accusations. The ruling will be publicly available after November 18. Here's more.
Blue Origin's suit forced NASA, SpaceX to halt lander's development
Blue Origin filed the lawsuit in August after the Government Accountability Office rejected its claim in July that challenged the contract awarded to SpaceX. Blue Origin reportedly failed to defend its suit against NASA. The lawsuit forced NASA to halt SpaceX's development work for the Artemis lunar lander but efforts will reportedly resume on November 8, now that the ruling is out.
Blue Origin offered to cover $2 billion dues, cost overruns
Among other measures to win the contract, Blue Origin tried undercutting SpaceX's winning $2.9 billion bid by offering to waive $2 billion in payment dues. If NASA awarded it a fixed-price contract, the privateer also offered to cover any cost overruns in the lander's development. Blue Origin highlights that historically, NASA awarded contracts to two agencies but made a seemingly unfair exception this time.
Blue Origin expected NASA to negotiate $5.9 billion bid
Engadget reported that the court ruling isn't surprising since NASA was skeptical and believed that Blue Origin was gambling with its initial $5.9 billion bid on the incorrect assumption that the space agency would bargain for a cheaper deal. Bezos's firm disagreed with NASA's evaluation and firmly believes it made a competitive offer and even painted the court ruling as a partial win.
Bezos's firm reiterates commitment to Artemis's eventual success
Blue Origin said its suit "highlighted the important safety issues" in the human landing system (HLS) procurement and showed the dearth of "unprejudiced" process and "sound policy" that would promote competition. The official statement also reiterated Blue Origin's commitment to the success of the Artemis mission and the United States' goals to colonize the moon.
Bezos tweeted that Blue Origin respects the court's decision
Not the decision we wanted, but we respect the court’s judgment, and wish full success for NASA and SpaceX on the contract. pic.twitter.com/BeXc4A8YaW— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) November 4, 2021