Through a press release, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced that they will maintain the selection of SpaceX to develop and demonstrate a modern landing module. This after the United States Court of Federal Claims will deny Blue Origin’s claim.
Jeff Bezos’ company Blue Origin filed a lawsuit against NASA in August of this year, after it awarded SpaceX the contract to run the Human Landing System (HLS) program. The HLS will allow NASA to take the first woman and other astronauts to the Moon in 2024 in the Artemis program.
In the same statement, NASA informed that work will resume to launch the program as soon as possible, after the ruling issued by the Court. NASA clarified that there will be more opportunities for companies to partner with the agency to establish long-term human presence on the Moon under the Artemis program.
Through a tweet, Bezos pointed out that despite not being the expected decision, he respects the Court’s ruling. This means that the employer will not appeal the decision. For its part, SpaceX has not issued a statement regarding the ruling given this Thursday.
Three private companies (SpaceX, Blue Origin and Dynetics) were competing for the millionaire contract, two companies were expected to be given contracts before the budget reduction for the program. When the contract was awarded to SpaceX in April 2021, Blue Origin quickly protested against the decision. However, the Government Accounting Office denied the company’s appeal in late July.
The company focused on proving that NASA wrongly awarded the contract only to SpaceX and that it ignored key flight safety requirements in the process. The ruling dismissed Blue Origin’s claims, however the court’s opinion is currently sealed, because the case contains proprietary information of the companies. Judge Richard Hertling ordered the parties to deliver the proposed wording by November 18, to make the opinion public.
Federal Judge Hertling sided with the defense in his ruling, completing a month-long battle over the $ 2.9 billion contract. This contract will allow SpaceX to use its reusable Starship rocket to fly astronauts to the surface of the moon for NASA’s upcoming Artemis missions.