Blue Origin will go to court with NASA for the Artemis contract


Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos

I thought that after the US audit department dismissed the objections raised by Blue Origin, NASA’s Artemis project was finally on track, but apparently Blue Origin was not prepared to let it go so simply. The company earlier filed a complaint with the U.S. Federal Court to challenge NASA’s decision. According to BO, this was to “remedy NASA’s flaws in the procurement process, restore fairness, create competition, and ensure the safe return of the United States.” Moon”.

NASA originally wanted to select two of the three companies: SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Dynetics, but due to funding constraints, only the lowest bidder SpaceX was selected. What BO called the “unfair” part is because NASA allowed SpaceX to modify the content of the payment schedule in the contract, but did not give Blue Origin the same opportunity. However, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) believes that NASA does not The obligation to discuss, modify, or cancel the content of the contract due to funding issues means that BO is responsible for the payment schedule proposed by itself, not NASA. When GAO issued its decision, BO stated that “It firmly believes that NASA’s decision has a fundamental problem, and GAO is unable to solve the problem due to its authority. Blue Origin will continue to promote the two suppliers’ plan and believe this is NASA’s moon landing demand. The best solution” hints at the possibility of further complaints.

It’s hard to say what impact this will have on the development progress of the entire lunar lander and the overall development progress of the Artemis project. On the one hand, BO asked NASA to suspend its contract with SpaceX, which will inevitably delay the cooperation between NASA and SpaceX; but on the other hand, SpaceX is not only developing Starship for NASA, but a “by the way” under its grand goal of colonizing Mars. “That’s it. While waiting for the results of the legal battle, Starship’s various tests will not be delayed. Many of the technologies required for the moon-landing version of Starship are actually the same as SpaceX’s established goal of going to Mars. SpaceX will be short of financial support from NASA for a period of time, but originally SpaceX did not rely on this extra money. Maybe the impact is not big.