A few weeks back the US Government Accountability Office denied Blue Origin and Dynetic’s protest of NASA’s Human Landing System contract. Since then Blue Origin has been on a PR campaign to throw mud at the winner, SpaceX, and has started a lawsuit against NASA.
After GAO decision, Blue Origin plans to sue
Earlier this month the GAO released a document making clear why they denied the protest by Blue Origin and Dynetics. The decision clearly states that there is no evidence to support their claims of unfair treatment or improper selection processes.
Now Blue Origin plans to sue NASA over the contract, still stating that this is to fix NASA’s improper selection process. This is not new as SpaceX has done this in the past too, suing both NASA and the US Air Force after they believed was a bad selection process. The only difference is in SpaceX’s cases, they were not even allowed to bid for the contracts.
How will the lawsuit affect HLS progress
During the protest with the GAO, SpaceX and NASA were not allowed to work together on the development of Starship and its lunar landing variant. Since the protest was denied, NASA has been able to work with SpaceX and begin sending the company part of the $2.9 Billion contract award.
This all could come to a halt as, according to a NASA spokesperson, a stay has been sent to NASA by the judge overseeing Blue Origin’s lawsuit. This means NASA may have to, once again, stop work with SpaceX on their HLS contract. This could possibly further delay NASA’s 2024 crewed lunar landing mission.
Blue Origin employees in awe over ‘scorched earth’ tactics
In an open letter on the Blue Origin Reddit page, an employee expressed his concerns about their company’s infographics and PR tactics. Saying many are “disgusted and embarrassed” for their company to treat their friends that way. They set the record straight that the team they are very much members of “team space” and “get amped about Starship getting stacked” like everyone else.
Space Explored’s Take
While Blue Origin has seen success with their New Shepard program, they have not yet seen that success carry forward with New Glenn and HLS. The dire fight for this contract, paired with New Glenn’s failed selection with the Space Force, and BE-4 engine concerns have all been setbacks for the company that have prevented the creation of a new sustainable cash flow through government contracts. Hopefully, they can work through the setback with New Glenn, but if not, that could be a point of concern for the company moving forward.
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