A couple of days ago, NASA gave SpaceX a $2.9 billion contract to make a rocket that will take astronauts to the moon for the first time in 49 years. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Blue Origin, has since protested.
According to CNN, NASA’s Human Landing System (HLS) originally planned on picking two companies to build the rocket but then decided to have just SpaceX do it due to cost. SpaceX was the lowest bidder of the three companies considered.
Elon Musk trolled Blue Origin after hearing the news via Twitter:
Can’t get it up (to orbit) lol
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 26, 2021
He also joked about Blue Origin’s lunar lander “Blue Moon” by calling it “Blue Balls.”
The company complained to the Government Office on Monday claiming that they were not able to change their proposal after NASA cut their budget and that they did not assess parts of their proposal. They also said that NASA’S decision limits the competition and delays and endangers the mission.
Space News reports that another competing company, Dynetics, filed a complaint the same day. In a statement they commented that:
”Dynetics has issues and concerns with several aspects of the acquisition process as well as elements of NASA’s technical evaluation and filed a protest with the GAO to address them,” and that, “We respect this process and look forward to a fair and informed resolution of the matter.”
They also report that Dynetics had the lowest technical ranking with a “Marginal.” Blue Origin and SpaceX received “Acceptable.” For management, Blue Origin and Dynetics got a rating of “Acceptable” while SpaceX got a “Outstanding” rating.
The government has 100 days to consider whether their pushback is justified or not.
SpaceX plans to use Starship for the mission, they plan to make a revised version of it to cater to NASA’s Artemis moon project.
Though Starship would be able to conduct the whole trip, NASA will use Orion and Space Landing System (SLS) for part of the mission. The SLS will take the astronauts to the moons orbit where they will then board the Gateway space station and then use Starship to land on the lunar surface.