Blue Origin, the set aside firm helmed by billionaire Jeff Bezos, is taking NASA to court. The firm filed a complaint with a federal claims court on Monday over the agency’s resolution to award a lunar lander contract solely to rival firm SpaceX.
The complaint, which Blue Origin successfully petitioned to maintain sealed, says NASA’s evaluate of proposals for the the Human Landing Machine used to be “unlawful and imperfect.”
“Blue Origin filed breeze smartly with in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in an strive to treatment the concerns in the acquisition direction of found in NASA’s Human Landing Machine,” a firm spokesperson told TechCrunch. “We firmly imagine that the points diagnosed in this procurement and its outcomes ought to be addressed to restore equity, gain competitors, and gain certain a procure return to the moon for The united states.”
The Human Landing Machine, a key part of NASA’s forthcoming Artemis program, is the lander that can return folk to the moon’s surface for the first time since the times of Apollo. NASA objectives to maintain the human lander touching down at the lunar south pole in 2024.
In April, NASA awarded the HLS contract to a single firm — SpaceX, which submitted a $2.9 billion represent. That NASA selected finest one firm, in preference to two, used to be a surprise (the agency likes to hedge its bets). Perfect just a few weeks later, Blue Origin and protection contractor Dynetics, which additionally submitted a represent for the lander program, filed separate protests with the Government Accountability Pickle of job over the resolution. GAO later upheld NASA’s resolution, maintaining that “the [contract] announcement reserved the actual to gain a variety of awards, a single award, or no award at all.”
(Read a blow-by-blow of GAO’s rationale by TechCrunch’s Devin Coldewey here).
When GAO launched its resolution, it seemed admire that can additionally simply wish been case closed: SpaceX gained, Blue Origin misplaced. This contemporary lawsuit, filed to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, is a clear signal that Jeff Bezos’ firm has no intention of backing down.
For its part, a NASA spokesperson would order diminutive extra to TechCrunch than that the agency used to be notified of the complaint and “officers are at the moment reviewing information of the case.”
If a federal court filing represents Blue Origin’s buttoned-up protests, the firm has additionally been waging a separate assault on social media, releasing a chain of infographics aimed at discrediting SpaceX’s Starship and NASA’s resolution to exhaust it for moon missions.
On one infographic, referring to Starship, the words “IMMENSELY COMPLEX & HIGH RISK” blaze across the image in crimson; every other described it as “a open automobile that has by no manner flown to orbit and is restful being designed.”
The case number is 1: 21-cv-01695-RAH. TechCrunch has reached out to NASA for shriek and will replace the story if they reply.