SpaceX’s $ 3 billion contract to build a lunar landing gear for NASA was arrested for the second time on Thursday after Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin sued for the award. NASA voluntarily agreed to suspend the agreement until November 1, pending a ruling by a U.S. federal court where Blue Origin filed a lawsuit last week.
A joint progress report submitted by Blue Origin, SpaceX and the government on Thursday stated that NASA’s “voluntary performance stay will end” on November 1. The oral argument will be set for Oct. 14, the judge said. SpaceX had intervened in the trial earlier this week to ensure the court has a complete and accurate picture of the protest, the company told the judge.
Blue origin sued NASA last week over the agency April’s decision to choose only SpaceX’s Starship the rocket system to the agency’s first human lunar system since 1972. NASA had said it could pick up two companies to receive the award, but chose one after receiving less funding from Congress than it asked for. Blue Origin filed a sealed appeal to the courts weeks after the first protest was Rejected by the Government. That protest, filed in April, make a SpaceX moon counter agreement on hold For 95 days.
The decision to award the contract to Elon Muskin SpaceX, based on proposals from Blue Origin and Dynetics, launched Blue Origin’s campaign to make SpaceX’s Starship system publicly dangerous and lobby congress to get more NASA funding This could make the office choose another company. Blue Origin’s failed protest in GAO claimed NASA violated contract law and argued that the agency should have canceled or changed the terms of the program when it learned it did not have enough money to fund two separate contracts. It also said NASA had unfairly negotiated the terms of SpaceX’s proposal before awarding the award without giving Blue Origin and Dynetics the same opportunities. GAO rejected both claims and supported NASA’s decision as legal.
Despite the delays caused by the Blue Origin protests, SpaceX has made rapid progress in its Starship system and moved the program largely with private funds. The first Starship prototype, aimed at orbit – a key milestone in SpaceX’s development – should be ready to launch “in a few weeks” Musk tweeted on August 14. However, the rocket will not be able to launch until the Federal Aviation Administration has completed a long environmental review of SpaceX’s launch pad in Boca Chicago, Texas, at the company’s central Starship Center.