icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

Watchdog shoots down Bezos’ spacecraft-bid protest, affirms NASA’s right to pick SpaceX for next lunar mission

Watchdog shoots down Bezos’ spacecraft-bid protest, affirms NASA’s right to pick SpaceX for next lunar mission
A US watchdog has denied a protest filed against NASA by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ space exploration company, Blue Origin, after the space agency chose Elon Musk’s SpaceX to build its next lunar lander.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) rejected Blue Origin’s protest on Friday, stating that NASA was within its rights to select a single company – SpaceX – to build its lander. NASA signed a contract worth almost $3 billion with SpaceX in April, after earlier saying it would take bids from multiple contractors.

The GAO also rejected a protest by defense contractor Dynetix, which also hoped to bid for the NASA contract. In a statement, the GAO said that NASA “reserved the right to make multiple awards, a single award, or no award at all.”

When NASA awarded the contract in April, it said that SpaceX bid was highly rated and represented “the best value to the government.” 

Bezos was undeterred, however, and earlier this week offered NASA $2 billion if the agency switched to Blue Origin’s bid. “Blue Origin will bridge [NASA’s] budgetary funding shortfall by waiving all payments in the current and next two government fiscal years up to $2bn to get the program back on track right now,” Bezos wrote to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. In return, Bezos wanted Blue Origin to get a fixed-priced contract for the construction of a spaceship for NASA’s moon mission, slated for roughly 2024.

In addition to offering a lower initial bid, SpaceX has experience working with NASA already, bringing three agency astronauts to the International Space Station last November. The historic flight marked the first time a commercially-developed rocket was used on an ISS mission.

Also on rt.com Jeff Bezos offers NASA $2 billion to get moon mission contract he lost to Elon Musk

Blue Origin has lost out to SpaceX in the bidding wars before. NASA leased a launch pad in Florida to Musk’s company in 2014, after the GAO rejected similar protests from Bezos’ firm. 

Bezos himself got a small taste of space exploration last week, taking a short trip into suborbital space aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket and capsule. The Amazon CEO and world’s richest person was “beaten,” however, by Virgin Galactic CEO Richard Branson, who a week earlier traveled to the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere aboard his company’s Unity 22 spaceplane. However, Blue Origin took issue with Branson’s flight, claiming that as the Virgin tycoon hadn’t crossed the Karman Line (100km above sea level), he wasn’t technically in space.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!




Dear readers and commenters,

We have implemented a new engine for our comment section. We hope the transition goes smoothly for all of you. Unfortunately, the comments made before the change have been lost due to a technical problem. We are working on restoring them, and hoping to see you fill up the comment section with new ones. You should still be able to log in to comment using your social-media profiles, but if you signed up under an RT profile before, you are invited to create a new profile with the new commenting system.

Sorry for the inconvenience, and looking forward to your future comments,

RT Team.

Podcasts