Blue Origin’s NASA Lawsuit Puts SpaceX’s Moon Lander Perform on Keep

Blue Origin’s NASA Lawsuit Puts SpaceX’s Moon Lander Work on Hold

Jeff Bezos laughs as he speaks about his flight on Blue Origin’s New Shepard into room during a press meeting on July 20, 2021 in Van Horn, Texas. Joe Raedle/Getty Visuals

Blue Origin on Thursday scored a little gain in its relentless battle for NASA’s Human Landing Method (HLS) deal. While the Jeff Bezos-led organization has not officially bought the position nevertheless, its lawsuit in opposition to NASA in the U.S. Court of Federal Promises has put the agency’s get the job done with SpaceX on keep.

Last Friday, Blue Origin filed a complaint with the U.S. Court docket of Federal Claims, challenging NASA’s selection in April to decide on SpaceX as the sole contractor of HLS. The lawsuit came immediately after Blue Origin lost an appeal ahead of the U.S. Government Accountability Business.

On Thursday, the courtroom issued the timetable for the match, which involved a “NASA Voluntary Remain of Performance” clause that would result in a roughly a few-thirty day period pause in NASA’s ongoing perform with SpaceX.

“NASA has voluntarily paused get the job done with SpaceX for the human landing method (HLS) Solution A contract powerful Aug. 19 by Nov. 1,” NASA stated in a statement on Thursday. “In exchange for this temporary continue to be of operate, all events agreed to an expedited litigation program that concludes on Nov. 1.”

In an job interview with SpaceNews on Thursday, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson explained the case is taken care of by the Justice Division.

“This is a make a difference that is out of our fingers,” he instructed the publication. “The decide could require, in essence, pretty laborious discovery.”

As a result, the dispute will hold off NASA’s program to return American astronauts to the moon by 2024 by the Artemis Software, beneath which the HLS deal falls.

“NASA officers are continuing to work with the Section of Justice to evaluation the specifics of the scenario and glimpse forward to a well timed resolution of this matter,” the agency explained in Thursday’s assertion.

Blue Origin, SpaceX, and a third agency known as Dynetics submitted bids for NASA’s HLS agreement in March 2020. Though in the earlier NASA has awarded several contracts for a solitary challenge, these types of as the Business Crew Application, this time the company chosen only 1 contractor, SpaceX, citing budgeting factors.

According to a report produced by the GAO on July 30 responding to Blue Origin’s grievance, NASA had acquired only $850 million from Congress in fiscal yr 2021 for the HLS program, with an additional $96 million from other packages that could fund HLS. Practically $400 million of that funding was already expended on the “base period” awards NASA gave to Blue Origin, SpaceX and Dynetics in 2020. About $200 million has been reserved for inner prices for the program. That still left the company only $355 million accessible for new HLS awards in 2021.

NASA has by now paid SpaceX $300 million as aspect of its $2.9 billion sole deal. Nelson explained he did not know if it was possible to come across funding for a 2nd HLS deal to Blue Origin.

Blue Origin’s Messy Fight With NASA Is Actually Delaying US Moon-Landing Effort