The US government watchdog GAO has quashed Blue Origin’s protest at NASA’s appointment of SpaceX to build a new lunar lander. According to the watchdog, NASA evaluated the applications fairly and did not break any law.
At the end of April, space company Blue Origin and US defense company Dynetics were dissatisfied with the fact that only one contractor had been appointed to build a new lunar lander for the Artemis space program that should help people on the moon again by 2024. This is despite the fact that the original tender left room for two parties.
However, according to the US watchdog Government Accountability Office, NASA’s choice to opt for one side is not against the law. “NASA could choose to appoint only one party, two parties or none,” it sounds. “The rules for these contracts are different from the standard federal government contracts that are issued”. According to the GAO, NASA also chose the cheapest option with SpaceX and was unable to make two tenders. The space agency will pay approximately $3 billion to SpaceX.
A spokesperson for Blue Origin told TechCrunch that the company still believes there are “fundamental problems” with NASA’s appointment of SpaceX. “The GAO has not been able to address these issues because it has no authority over this matter. We believe the bipartisan option is still the appropriate solution and are optimistic about NASA’s recent declaration of intent to re-establish competition,” it said.