Weeks after NASA awarded Elon Musk's SpaceX a lucrative contract to get astronauts to the moon by 2024, Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin has filed a formal protest with the Government Accountability Office. At one point, NASA was going to choose two vendors to work with, but had to end up going with just one because of a smaller-than-intended budget, and they chose SpaceX.
According to Blue Origin's filing, the company claims NASA unfairly favored SpaceX throughout the bidding process. "The Agency unreasonably favored SpaceX's evaluation by minimizing significant risks in SpaceX's design and schedule, while maximizing the same or similar risks in Blue Origin's proposal. Such an evaluation is unreasonable and prejudiced Blue Origin," the filing reads.
SpaceX ended up winning the $2.9 billion contract over both Blue Origin and the Huntsville-based Dynetics. Outside of the filing itself, Blue Origin went on to release a statement Monday accusing NASA of carrying out a "flawed acquisition."
"NASA has executed a flawed acquisition for the Human Landing System program and moved the goalposts at the last minute," the company's statement reads. "Their decision eliminates opportunities for competition, significantly narrows the supply base, and not only delays, but also endangers America's return to the Moon. Because of that, we've filed a protest with the GAO."
In case you're wondering, Musk himself has already responded to the news exactly how you'd expect — through a tweet to his 50 million followers. "Can't get it up (to orbit) lol," Musk tweeted Monday afternoon.
Can’t get it up (to orbit) lol— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 26, 2021
The contract is part of NASA's Artemis program, a mission aiming to get feet on the moon again by 2024. The outfit's mission description is below, and you can read more about Artemis by clicking here.
During the Artemis program, NASA will land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon, using innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before. We will collaborate with our commercial and international partners and establish sustainable exploration for the first time. Then, we will use what we learn on and around the Moon to take the next giant leap – sending astronauts to Mars.
For other news involving space, aliens, and other out-of-this-world news, be sure to check out our ComicBook Invasion coverage here.
Cover photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images and Britta Pedersen-Pool/Getty Images