Daily US Times: Blue Origin, owing by the billionaire investor Jeff Bezos, is suing Nasa over a decision to award a $2.9bn lunar lander contract to Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
Blue Origin said there were “fundamental issues” with the deal, calling it unfair.
The row between the US space agency Nasa and Blue Origin stems from a decision in April to hand the deal to one company, not two as expected, because of a funding shortage.
Nasa is yet to comment about the lawsuit, but it has the backing of a federal watchdog.
Blue Origin said in a court filing on Friday that it continued to believe that two providers were needed to build the moon landing system, which will carry astronauts down to the Moon’s surface as early as 2024.
Blue Origin also accused Nasa of “unlawful and improper evaluation” of its proposals during the tender process, according to court filing.
The former Amazon boss’s firm said: “We firmly believe that the issues identified in this procurement and its outcomes must be addressed to restore fairness, create competition and ensure a safe return to the Moon for America.”
At the time of the award, Kathy Lueders, Nasa’s human exploration chief, admitted that Nasa’s current budget precluded it from selecting two companies. That was after Congress granted it only 850 million US dollars of the 3.3 billion it requested for the project.
Nasa also cited the proven record of orbital missions by SpaceX firm, owned by another billionaire investor Elon Musk, as a factor in the award. Cost is also thought to have played a role: SpaceX’s bid was the lowest-priced by some distance.
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