September 28, 2021

Why SpaceX and Blue Origin are fighting over the NASA lunar lander contract

In comparison, Jeff Bezos started Blue Origin because he wants “millions of people living and working in space”.

Why SpaceX and Blue Origin are fighting over the NASA lunar lander contract

Why SpaceX and Blue Origin are fighting over the NASA lunar lander contract photo credit: Business Insider

Blue Origin recently filed a lawsuit, with the US Court of Federal Claims, against NASA. While the details of the complaint are sealed it appears that Blue Origin is protesting against NASA awarding the R33.6 billion lunar lander contract to SpaceX.

Blue Origin alleges that NASA improperly evaluated the proposals submitted for the Human Lander System (HLS) program. The lawsuit follows two weeks after the Government Accountability Office rejected Blue Origin’s claims that the contract was unfairly awarded to SpaceX and has resulted in SpaceX pausing work on the HLS program until at least 1 November 2021.

Now many would ask why Blue Origin is fighting NASA and SpaceX but to understand that, you must understand that these two companies have very different goals.

According to Laura Forczyk, founder of space consulting firm Astralytical, “Elon Musk wants to retire on Mars” and SpaceX’s investment in reusable rockets is indicative of their ultimate goals of long-distance interplanetary travel.

In comparison, Jeff Bezos started Blue Origin because he wants “millions of people living and working in space”.

Another difference is that Blue Origin is personally funded by Jeff Bezos while SpaceX relies on government and commercial contracts for funding.

Now while Blue Origin’s legal challenge over a contract seems unusual since it’s funded by the world’s richest man, it makes sense when you consider that Bezos wants the contract to use the funds to develop the tools they need to let people work and live in space.

Blue Origin has reportedly had its sights set on the HLS contract for years but for NASA it was too expensive to fund multiple spacecrafts as they had originally planned.

It’s unclear if the legal challenge will be successful but this is clearly a last-ditch effort by Blue Origin to win the lunar lander contract by any means.

Sources: Business Insider

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ALSO READ: Jeff Bezos sues NASA over deal with Elon Musk’s SpaceX

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