Blue Origin Is Challenging SpaceX's Artemis Lander Contract From NASA

Blue Origin's CEO called the process "fundamentally unfair."

By I. Bonifacic

This story originally appeared on Engadget

Over a week ago, NASA awarded Elon Musk's SpaceX a $2.9 billion contract to build a lunar lander for its upcoming Artemis Moon project. In deciding on SpaceX, NASA passed over defense contractor Dynetics and Blue Origin. The latter is now challenging the decision. In a protest filed with the federal Government Accountability Office (via The New York Times), Jeff's Bezos' rocket company claims NASA improperly awarded the contract to its rival.

"NASA has executed a flawed acquisition for the Human Landing System program and moved the goalposts at the last minute. In NASA's own words, it has made a 'high risk' selection," a spokesperson for Blue Origin told Engadget. "Their decision eliminates opportunities for competition, significantly narrows the supply base, and not only delays, but also endangers America's return to the Moon."

Related: A Rare Photo Shows Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos Having Dinner 17 Years Ago, Before Their Longstanding Feud Ignited

When it comes to its marquee programs, NASA has historically picked multiple contractors. It's taken that approach to promote competition and protect itself if an organization can't deliver a project on time. To that point, NASA chose SpaceX, Blue Origin and Dynetics when it awarded the initial lunar lander contract last year. "[NASA are] generally quite good at acquisition, especially its flagship missions like returning America to the surface of the moon. We felt that these errors needed to be addressed and remedied," Bob Smith, the CEO of Blue Origin, said in an interview with The New York Times. "We didn't get a chance to revise and that's fundamentally unfair."

As to SpaceX being a "high risk" selection, the plan it won the contract on involves using its in-development Starship to transport astronauts to the Moon. So far, most of the company's test flights have ended in fiery explosions. However, the company has had significant success with both its Falcon 9 rocket Crew Dragon craft, with the two achieving several milestones for SpaceX when NASA's Crew-2 mission recently docked with the International Space Station.

Notably, Blue Origin is the second Bezos-affiliated company to get into a contract dispute with the US government. Last year, Amazon, citing comments made by former President Donald Trump, challenged the integrity of the $10 billion JEDI cloud computing deal the Department of Defense (DoD) awarded to Microsoft. After an internal investigation, the DoD ended up sticking by its decision.

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

This 61-Year-Old Grandma Who Made $35,000 in the Medical Field Now Earns 7 Figures in Retirement
A 'Quiet Promotion' Will Cost You a Lot — Use This Expert's 4-Step Strategy to Avoid It
3 Red Flags on Your LinkedIn Profile That Scare Clients Away
'Everyone Is Freaking Out.' What's Going On With Silicon Valley Bank? Federal Government Takes Control.

How to Detect a Liar in Seconds Using Nonverbal Communication

There are many ways to understand if someone is not honest with you. The following signs do not even require words and are all nonverbal queues.

Science & Technology

How ChatGPT and Generative AI Can Transform the Way You Run Your Business

Let's take a high-level overview of how generative AI might transform your fledgling business. The benefits of this technology innovation remain crucial for any entrepreneur to grasp.


Streaming Free: The Habits of Happy People

Now streaming on EntrepreneurTV, 'Habits and Hustle,' which shares the stories, habits, and rituals of people on their journey to living fulfilled lives.

Business News

Carnival Cruise Wants Passengers to Have Fun in the Sun — But Do This, and You'll Get Burned With a New $500 Fee

The cruise line's updated contract follows a spate of unruly guest behavior across the tourism industry.


Bringing the Neighborhood Back to Business: Lessons From Mr. Rogers

What potential could a business unlock if the message it gave to every employee was, "You don't ever have to do anything sensational to belong here?"

Business News

Amtrak Introduces 'Night Owl' Prices With Some Routes As Low As $5

The new discounts apply to some rides between Washington D.C. and New York City.