In April of this year, Blue Origin and Dynetics decided to challenge a contract between NASA and SpaceX, a competing rocket and space company. The subject of the $ 2.9 billion contract is a manned flight to the moon. Soon after the protest was announced, NASA had to suspend the contract pending a decision by the US Government Audit Office considering the appeal from Blue Origin and Dynetics.
The protest was dismissed this week. According to the supervisory authority, NASA’s assessment “of all three proposals was reasonable and in accordance with the procurement law, regulations and the terms of the tender.”
In protesting, Blue Origin said the selection process was “fundamentally unfair” because it did not have the opportunity to revise and amend its application. At the same time, SpaceX has revised its payment schedule to please NASA. Blue Origin has also expressed opposition to the fact that the space agency has selected a single contractor for the project, when the initial announcement referred to the involvement of two manufacturers.
According to the tabulation commission, the space agency “did not violate the law or the procurement ordinance when it decided to select only one.” In the initial announcement of the Human Landing System program, it was said that NASA could win multiple contracts, one contract, or none.
Interestingly, the commission’s decision came just days after Blue Origin founder and former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos proposed to “forgive” NASA up to $ 2 billion in payments due Blue Origin during this fiscal year and two following in exchange for a contract for a fixed amount associated with the flight to the moon.
Blue Origin still has room to fight further, including going to the US Federal Court. And the company intends to act, because, in her words, “the Human Landing System program is better implemented now, not later – it will be better for NASA and our country.”