NASA has suspended SpaceX’s work $2.9 billion lunar lander The astronauts were returned to the moon due to protests by “Blue Origin” and “Dynetics,” but the space agency did not choose the company that built its lunar lander.
On Friday, NASA spokesman Monica Witt (Monica Witt) announced a brief statement, announcing the suspension of procurement, and said it will remain until the Government Accountability Office resolves complaints related to procurement. Engadget. GAO until August 4At the latest, decisions must be made on the challenges faced by Blue Origin, founded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and defense contractor Dynetics.
Witte said: “On April 26, NASA received a notice that the Blue Origin Federation and Dynetics filed a protest with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), requesting a challenge to the option A landing system. “According to GAO’s protests, NASA instructed SpaceX to suspend the progress of the HLS contract until GAO resolves all pending lawsuits related to the purchase. As the lawsuit is pending, NASA is unable to provide further comment. ”
Gizmodo contacted NASA on Saturday to confirm Witt’s statement, but had not received any response at the time of publication. The request for comment from SpaceX also did not return immediately. If there is a response, we will update this blog.
NASA ordered the suspension of SpaceX’s work on the lunar lander and will use its interplanetary spacecraft launch system, which means that SpaceX will not immediately receive the first $2.9 billion reward. Marginal report. The company will not begin initial negotiations with NASA as it did when the large-scale contract began.
Nevertheless, considering that SpaceX plans to use “interstellar spacecraft” to transport cargo and crew to Earth orbit, the moon and Mars, the company is likely to continue development on “interstellar spacecraft.”Earlier this week, the FAA said It has authorized The next three “Starship” prototypes. Some prototypes of the spacecraft have already flown at high altitudes, but so far, all flights have ended in explosions.
In the complaint filed on Monday, Suspected of “Blue Origin” NASA “performed a flawed acquisition of the Human Landing System program and moved the goal post at the last minute.” First, the company pointed out that NASA said it intends to award two awards for its lunar lander system, but due to It changed his mind because of “obvious shortcomings” in its current and future budgets. Blue Origin claims that working with the sole provider may threaten competition in this area.
That’s not all. Among other visible light hits, “Blue Origin” was also shouting at the price of the lunar lander. The company’s price to NASA is $5.99 billion, more than twice the price of SpaceX. however, Company statement NASA allowed SpaceX to modify the price, but it did not give Blue Origin and Dynetics the same opportunity.
Dynamics, this also File a complaint On Monday, some people believed that once NASA knew that it did not have enough funds to support the two companies, it should modify its handling of the lunar lander or withdraw the tender. Space news report. Instead, NASA decided to adopt “the most competitive and high-risk option available.”
Dynetics confirmed that NASA’s decision essentially makes SpaceX a lunar lander provider for the foreseeable future. The company also criticized NASA’s analysis of SpaceX’s technical methods.
Dynetics said: “NASA did not consider the inherent risks of SpaceX’s technical approach, and more specifically, the information was too close for NASA to ignore-that is, four SpaceX Starships have exploded in various stages of their test flights in recent months.” Complaint. “NASA clearly lacks this kind of system engineering, which gives SpaceX a pass.”
The company does have one thing. Blue Origin seems to be the leader in the bidding process, and choosing a lunar lander is considered sensitive and safe. SpaceX must prove that its “interstellar spacecraft” method is feasible, which includes refueling a rocket in space and landing the rocket vertically on the surface of the moon. None of these things have been done before. It must also prevent its spacecraft from exploding.
NASA’s current plan is to send two male and female astronauts to the lunar surface in 2024.