Space Industry Updates
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A US watchdog has rejected a call from Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin over Nasa’s decision to award a lunar landing contract to Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
The government’s accountability office rejected the protest, saying the space agency “did not violate the law or regulations” SpaceX the $ 2.89 billion deal to help send Americans back to the moon, possibly as early as 2024.
The decision represents yet another blow to Bezos’ ambitions to establish a significant space exploration venture. Blue Origin has already experienced major delays in manufacturing its own suborbital rocket to compete with the progress Musk has made.
Despite initial indications that he intended to award contracts to several suppliers, Nasa said in April that it would be only one due to budget constraints. The agency said SpaceX’s bid by a “large margin” was cheaper than compared to the others.
Blue Origin – and another vendor, Dynetics – are protesting Nasa’s decision, arguing that the agency intended to use multiple vendors and did not give other companies a chance to revisit the cost of their respective bids. .
In a statement Published Friday, the GAO said: ‘Nasa’s announcement determined that the number of grants the agency would make was subject to the amount of money available for the program.
‘In addition, the announcement reserves the right to make several awards, a single award or not an award at all. GAO is the investigative group of the US Congress and also reviews disputes regarding government contracts.
The rejection comes days after Bezos wrote to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson offers to cover $ 2 billion in costs in this fiscal year and the next two, in exchange for the contract being awarded – an offer that still exists, Blue Origin said Friday.
“We are firmly convinced that there were fundamental problems with Nasa’s decision,” the company said. ‘But the GAO could not address them because of their limited jurisdiction. We will continue to plead for two immediate suppliers as we believe this is the right solution. ”
The company said it had been ‘encouraged’ by congressional efforts to increase Nasa’s budget so that it could award multiple contracts, as well as Nelson’s recent comments on the importance of healthy competition in the modern space race.
Blue Origin added: “The Human Landing System program should have competition now instead of later – this is the best solution for Nasa and the best solution for our country.”
On Twitter, Musk responded to the news by writing ‘GAO’, followed by an emoji depicting a bending bicep.