Blue Origin, the space company of Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos, has filed a protest against NASA for awarding $2.9 billion contract to Elon Musk-run SpaceX for landing astronauts on the Moon by 2024.
The US space agency was expected to pick two lunar lander prototypes (including one of Blue Origin’s) but funding cut from US Congress led the agency to select SpaceX over Blue Origin.
In a 175-page protest, Blue Origin has accused NASA of misjudging several parts of its proposal for its lunar lander called Blue Moon, reports The Verge.
“NASA has executed a flawed acquisition for the Human Landing System programme and moved the goalposts at the last minute,” Blue Origin said in a statement on Monday.
Calling NASA’s decision “high risk,” the company said that the decision “eliminates opportunities for competition, significantly narrows the supply base, and not only delays, but also endangers America’s return to the Moon. Because of that, we’ve filed a protest with the GAO”.
NASA was yet to comment on the Blue Origin’s protest.
Musk responded to Blue Origin’s protest with a tweet: “Can’t get it up (to orbit) lol”.
The US space agency last week picked SpaceX to develop the first commercial lander and take the next two US astronauts to the moon.
The contract is part of NASA’s Artemis programme, which aims to return astronauts to the moon by 2024 as a stepping stone to the first human mission to Mars.
Four astronauts aboard the SpaceX’s Crew Dragon-2 arrived at the International Space Station this week for a six-month mission.