NASA is being sued by the Jeff Bezos-backed space company Blue Origin. The subject of the suit is the $2.9 billion lunar lander contract to Elon Musk’s SpaceX, according to BBC News on Aug. 16, 2021. In addition, the lawsuit alleges several problems with the decision-making process that went into picking Musk’s company.
One of the key arguments was the lack of competition SpaceX seemed to receive as Blue Origin. Bezos feels that it was not given a fair shot at getting considered for the job. The lawsuit alleges NASA improperly did its evaluations on the company and unjustly ruled it out of the equation. The price also is being blamed in the lawsuit for Blue Origin missing out. Its price was reportedly much higher than SpaceX, to the extent that Bezos himself offered to cover part of the cost.
History Repeats Itself
Blue Origin is not the only Bezos company to sue the government over lost contracts. Earlier this year, Amazon filed a lawsuit challenging the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract. This was a 10-year cloud computing deal between Microsoft and the Department of Defense, dealing with data from the military.
Like NASA, the military was accused of favoring one company over the other due to low cost and unfairly assessing the options it had to choose. The JEDI contract was later abandoned in favor of the Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability, a program that would allow multiple partners to be chosen and gives Amazon a second chance to get its hands on a government contract. The lawsuit was not mentioned as a factor in the decision, but it is reported that the DOD was mulling over the contract ever since Amazon brought on litigation.
NASA has until October 12 to legally respond to the Blue Origin lawsuit, and SpaceX has not commented on the matter. Amazon succeeded in its efforts, it seems. However, as SpaceX has yet to respond, Blue Origin will have to wait.
Written by Chiagozie Onyewuchi
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
BBC News: Bezos sues Nasa over its deal with Elon Musk’s SpaceX
CNBC: Bezos’ Blue Origin takes NASA to federal court over award of lunar lander contract to SpaceX; by Michael Sheetz
Forbes: Pentagon Scraps Microsoft’s $10 Billion Cloud Computing Deal After Lawsuit From Amazon; Joe Walsh
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Francisco Schmidt’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of NASA Flight Opportunities’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License