The government denies Bezos’ Blue Origin protest over NASA HLS contract

Jeff Bezos, owner of Blue Origin, introduces a new lunar landing module called Blue Moon during a event at the Washington Convention Center, May 9, 2019 in Washington DC.

Mark Wilson | .

The U.S. government accountability office on The protests of the affiliated companies were denied on Friday with Jeff Bezos that NASA mistakenly awarded a lucrative lunar landing contract for astronauts exclusively to Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

The complaints were filed by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and the Leidos subsidiary Dynetics.

“NASA didn’t violate the law or procurement regulation when it decided to go solo one award … the evaluation of all three proposals were reasonable and consistent with applicable procurement law, regulation, and the announcement’S terms, “managing partner of GAO general counsel Kenneth Patton wrote in a declaration.

The GAO ruling supports the space surprise of the agency announcement in April NASA awarded SpaceX with a contract worth about $ 2.9 billion. SpaceX was in competition with Blue and Dynamic Origin for what should have been two contracts, before NASA was awarded only one contract due to a lower than expected allotment for the program from Congress.

NASA, in a declaration, said the GAO decision want allow the agency “to establish a timetable for the first manned landing on the moon in more 50 years old “.

“How soon how possible, NASA will provide a update on the way after you for Artemis, the human landing system, and humanity The return to the moon. We will continue to work with the Biden administration and Congress a ensure financing for a solid and sustainable approach for the return of the nation to the moon in a collaborative effort with trading partners of the United States, “the United States space the agency said.

A spokesperson for Blue Origin told CNBC that the company still believes there were “fundamental problems” with of NASA decision, but the GAO was not in able to deal with them due to their limited jurisdiction. “

“We will continue to advocate for two immediate suppliers as we believe it is the right solution, “said Blue Origin.” The Human Landing System program needs to have competition Now instead of after – this is the best solution for NASA and the best solution for our country.”

SpaceX and Dynetics did not respond to requests from CNBC for comment. Moss, for his part, weighed in on the ruling of the GAO with an emoji with a flexing arm in a tweet.

of NASA decision

The prototype of the SN15 spaceship is launched from Boca Chica, in Texas.


GAO’s protest ruling resolves dispute over NASA’s human landing system program, one of the final key pieces of the agency’s plan to bring back US astronauts in surface of the moon.

Before the most recent contract award, NASA had delivered out nearly $ 1 billion in concept development contracts – with SpaceX receives $ 135 million, Dynetics receives $ 253 million, and Blue Origin receives $ 579 million.

In choosing SpaceX for the next round of development, NASA has decided to finance a variation of SpaceX’s Starship rocket, prototypes of that SpaceX has tested on its own development service, structure in Boca Chica, Texas.

NASA plans for its astronauts a use Spaceship to be transferred from the agency’s Orion spacecraft when the capsule reaches lunar orbit.

Blue Origin and the protests of Dynetics

Shortly after NASA announcement in April, Blue Origin and Dynetics filed protests with the GAO, challenging the space agency process e decision.

Blue Origin in April denigrated the award as “faulty”, saying that NASA “moved the poles of the last minute.”

The company also revealed that his proposal was roughly double That of SpazioX, with an offer of $ 5.99 billion. NASA later revealed that Dynetics’ offering was even higher, at $ 8.5 billion.

One effect of the protests are that NASA was not in degree of move forward with work on HLS with SpazioX, with work basically stopped on the program up to GAO’s decision.

The Bezos counter

Shortly after flying in space on of blue origin first manned flight, wrote Bezos in a letter to NASA earlier this week that would have covered up to $ 2 billion in the space agency fees for a lunar landing contract.

“We are ready to help NASA moderates its technical risks e solve its budget constraints and put the Artemis program back on a more competitive, credible and sustainable path, “Bezos wrote in the letter.

Blue Origin’s vice president of communications Linda Mills told CNBC in an email that there is “no change to the offer” Bezos made after the GAO ruling.

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