The space race is heating up as Jeff Bezos’ firm Blue Origin sues Nasa over its decision to award a lunar lander contract to Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
Bezos has filed a lawsuit in federal court which challenges NASA’s decision to award a $2.9bn (£2.1bn) contract to SpaceX which will see the company build a spacecraft to take astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972 as part of the government’s Artemis programme. The filing reportedly calls NASA’s evaluation process “unlawful and improper.”
A Blue Origin spokesperson said that the company wants to “remedy the flaws in the acquisition process found in NASA’s Human Landing System”.
“We firmly believe that the issues identified in this procurement and its outcomes must be addressed to restore fairness, create competition, and ensure a safe return to the Moon for America,” they added.
Blue Origin tried to protest the decision last month, but the Government Accountability Office supported NASA in its decision to choose a single bidder.
Before NASA awarded the contract to SpaceX in April they dished out $1bn in contracts to SpaceX, which received $135m, Dynetics, which received $235, and Blue Origin, which received $579.
Both Dynetics and Blue Origin claim that NASA should have awarded more than one contract under the space landing programme. However, at the time of giving the award, a spokesperson for NASA put the decision down to budgetary constraints pointing out that SpaceX offered the cheapest contract.
NASA will have to respond to the lawsuit by October 12. While SpaceX is yet to respond to the news officially, Musk last week hit back at Bezos in a tweet.
He said: “If lobbying & lawyers could get u to orbit, Bezos would be on Pluto rn.”