Bezos’ Blue Origin loses NASA lawsuit over SpaceX $2.9 billion lunar lander contract

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  • The US Court of Federal Claims ruled against Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin in the company’s lawsuit against NASA over the $2.9 billion lunar lander contract awarded to SpaceX.
  • Federal Judge Richard Hartling sided with the defense in his decision, ending a months-long battle.
  • A Blue Origin spokesperson said in a statement that the company’s lawsuit “highlighted significant security issues with the human landing system procurement process that still need to be addressed.”
  • Musk posted a photo from the 2012 film “Dread” in a tweet responding to Businesshala’s report on the ruling.

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The US Court of Federal Claims ruled Thursday against Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin in the company’s lawsuit versus NASA over a lucrative astronaut lunar lander contract awarded to Elon Musk’s SpaceX earlier this year.

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Federal Judge Richard Hartling upheld the defense in his decision in August, ending a month-long battle after NASA sued Blue Origin.

NASA said in a statement that work with SpaceX would resume “as soon as possible,” now that the ruling has been issued.

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“There will be upcoming opportunities for companies to partner with NASA in establishing a long-term human presence on the Moon under the agency’s Artemis program,” the agency said.

A Blue Origin spokesperson said in a statement to Businesshala that the company’s lawsuit “highlights significant security issues with the human landing system purchase process that still need to be addressed.”

“Returning astronauts safely to the Moon through NASA’s public-private partnership model requires a partisan procurement process with sound policy that excludes redundant systems and fosters competition. Blue Origin Artemis Deeply committed to the success of the programme.”

Bezos personally added in a tweet that the ruling was “not the decision we wanted,” but noted that “we respect the court’s decision” — meaning his company will not appeal the decision further.

SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment on the decision.

Musk posted a photo from the 2012 film “Dread” in a tweet responding to Businesshala’s report on the ruling.

NASA in April awarded SpaceX with the sole contract for the agency’s Human Landing Systems program as part of a competitive process. In a $2.9 billion SpaceX contract, the company will use its Starship rocket to deliver astronauts to the surface of the Moon for NASA’s upcoming Artemis missions.

SpaceX was competing with Blue Origin and Dynetics, which were expected to have two contracts, before NASA had only awarded a single contract due to a lower-than-expected allocation for the program from Congress.

Blue Origin immediately contested the decision with the U.S. Government Accountability Office, but in late July the GAO denied the company’s appeal — prompting Bezos’s space company to pursue its own legal action. Bezos is also the founder of e-commerce giant Amazon.

A revised version of Blue Origin’s lawsuit focused on proving the company’s complaint that NASA unfairly awarded the contract only to SpaceX and “disregarded key flight safety requirements” in the process.

Hurtling’s decision refuted Blue Origin’s claims. The court’s opinion is currently sealed, as the case contains information owned by the companies, but the parties were ordered by Hartling to give the proposed amendments by November 18, so that the opinion could be released publicly. .

NASA’s work with SpaceX on the HLS contract was halted during the trial but is set to resume on Monday.

The court’s decision, a setback to Blue Origin’s ambitions, comes at a mixed time of success and scrutiny for the company.

After stepping down as Amazon CEO, Bezos has personally increased his involvement in Blue Origin. While the company has flown two successful crewed flights of its suborbital New Shepard rocket to date, Blue Origin has faced allegations of increased employee turnover and safety issues, as well as a “toxic” work culture by former employees.

But Blue Origin continues to work toward achieving Bezos’ vision for the company, which is “millions of people living and working in space to benefit Earth,” specifically those ” By shifting industries that stress the Earth into space.” Last month Blue Origin announced a private space station called Orbital Reef, in partnership with a consortium of space companies, aims to deploy it into orbit later this decade.

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