A US authorities watchdog on Friday sided with NASA over its resolution to select a single lunar lander supplier, rejecting a protest filed by Blue Origin and protection contractor Dynetics Inc.
The businesses had challenged the $2.9 billion award to Elon Musk’s SpaceX for the lander, arguing NASA was required to make a number of awards. The Authorities Accountability Workplace (GAO) mentioned it “denied the protest arguments that NASA acted improperly in making a single award to SpaceX.”
Blue Origin, the rocket firm based by billionaire Jeff Bezos, mentioned on Friday it remained satisfied that there have been “elementary points” with NASA’s resolution, and that GAO was not capable of deal with them “resulting from their restricted jurisdiction.”
Blue Origin mentioned it’s going to proceed to advocate for 2 fast suppliers because it believes that to be the suitable resolution.
“GAO’s resolution will permit NASA and SpaceX to ascertain a timeline for the primary crewed touchdown on the Moon in additional than 50 years,” NASA mentioned in an announcement on Friday, including that sending American astronauts to the moon is a precedence for the Biden Administration.
Dynetics, a unit of Leidos Holdings, mentioned it was upset with the choice, however plans to compete for different alternatives introduced by NASA sooner or later.
SpaceX didn’t remark, however Musk despatched a tweet saying simply “GAO” with a flexed muscle emoji.
NASA had sought proposals for a spacecraft that may carry astronauts to the lunar floor below its Artemis program to return people to the moon for the primary time since 1972.
In April, NASA awarded SpaceX a contract to construct such a spacecraft as early as 2024.
Blue Origin had contended NASA gave SpaceX an unfair benefit by letting it revise its pricing.
On Monday, Bezos supplied to cowl as much as $2 billion in NASA prices if the U.S. area company awarded Blue Origin a lunar touchdown contract.
In a letter to NASA Administrator Invoice Nelson, Bezos mentioned Blue Origin would waive funds as much as $2 billion, and pay for an orbital mission to vet its expertise. In change, Blue Origin would settle for a agency, fixed-priced contract, and canopy any system growth value overruns.
“With out competitors, NASA’s short-term and long-term lunar ambitions will probably be delayed, will finally value extra, and will not serve the nationwide curiosity,” Bezos mentioned.
Bezos’ supply got here six days after he flew alongside three crewmates to the sting of area aboard Blue Origin’s rocket-and-capsule New Shepard.