Politics

Blue Origin Challenges NASA Over SpaceX Moon Lander Deal

“I do,” Mr. Nelson mentioned. “Competitors is at all times good.”

Mr. Smith mentioned that with comparable applications previously, just like the area station missions, NASA had employed multiple firm despite the fact that it lacked certainty on future budgets.

The Blue Origin-led bid, at $6.0 billion, was greater than double the value of SpaceX’s. However Mr. Smith mentioned NASA had gone again to SpaceX and negotiated the value of its proposal, despite the fact that it didn’t have comparable discussions with the opposite two groups.

“We didn’t get an opportunity to revise and that’s essentially unfair,” Mr. Smith mentioned.

Lower than $9 billion would have paid for 2 landers, and that’s corresponding to the $8.3 billion price of the industrial crew program that now gives transportation to the area station, the protest argued.

“NASA is getting some nice, nice worth from these proposals,” Mr. Smith mentioned.

NASA’s evaluations of the bids gave rankings of “acceptable” on the technical facets of Blue Origin’s and SpaceX’s proposals. Dynetics’s score was decrease, at “marginal.” SpaceX’s administration was considered “excellent,” whereas Blue Origin and its companions had been judged, “superb,” as was Dynetics.

Mr. Smith mentioned NASA misjudged facets of its proposal, just like the communications system and redundancy in steerage and navigation, as weaknesses. He additionally mentioned it downplayed the dangers in SpaceX’s design like the necessity to refuel Starship in orbit, which has by no means been tried earlier than.

The NASA evaluators “largely dismissed the issue within the variety of launches and rendezvous required in SpaceX’s proposed resolution,” Mr. Smith mentioned. “The chance of SpaceX growth is excessive.”

The Authorities Accountability Workplace has 100 days to decide on the protest.

This isn’t the primary time that Blue Origin and SpaceX have battled over a NASA contract. In 2013, NASA selected SpaceX to take over Pad 39A on the Kennedy House Heart in Florida, which had been used for Saturn 5 launches throughout Apollo after which launches of the area shuttles.

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