How SpaceX and NASA finally beat BlueOrigin Lawsuit



Why did blue Origin Sue SpaceX and NASA?
This whole feud can be traced back to April when NASA announced that it had awarded SpaceX the contract to develop the Human Launch System, or HLS for short, for their Artemis Program. This is NASA’s program to send astronauts back onto the Moon. And this time, they plan to set up a moon base as well. More on the Artemis program later.
The problem was that SpaceX was not the only one competing for this contract. Two other major private companies were also looking to be awarded the $ 2.9 billion contract. These companies were the Alabama-based Dynetics, an applied science and engineering company that has a history of working with the U.S. Department of Defense and NASA.
As well as Blue Origin, the private space company started by Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com Blue Origin was competing for the contract as part of ‘The National Team.’ The National Team is a consortium of defense and aerospace companies being led by Blue Origin. This consortium includes Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Draper.
The plan was for each of these companies to share responsibilities. Blue Origin would lead the HLS program and provide support in terms of program management, systems engineering, safety and mission assurance, and mission engineering. Blue Origin would also develop the Descent element for the HLS program .
Lockheed Martin would develop the reusable Ascent Element and also leads crewed flight operations and training. This would be right up their lane as Lockheed Martin has experience with this since they worked with NASA on the Orion spacecraft.
Northrop Grumman would have provided the Transfer Element. This is the group of systems that would bring the landing system down toward the Moon. It would be based on their Cygnus system, which has already flown 13 resupply missions to the ISS.
And finally, Draper would develop descent guidance and flight avionics systems. Since they have experience working with NASA to develop algorithms that have been used on previous exploration missions.
While this Team ensemble sounds like a superhero team-up from a Marvel movie, they failed to secure the contract for the Human Launch System. Instead, NASA felt that SpaceX was more capable of delivering on the project.
Quickly after NASA’s decision, both Dynetics and Blue Origin, representing the National team, lodged a formal complaint with U.S. Government Accountability Office or GAO. According to them, there were flaws in NASA’s selection process. One of the objections was that NASA had selected a single HLS concept and given it a contract. When previously, NASA had clearly said that they were looking to fund the development of multiple moon landers from private companies.
NASA did later clarify that they just didn’t have the funding to award multiple contracts. Regardless Blue Origin felt that SpaceX had given the contract unfairly, and they were willing to prove it.
Sadly, for Blue Origin, nothing came of that complaint. As back in July 2021, the U.S. Government Accountability Office denied Blue Origins protests.
That didn’t deter Blue Origin from taking things further. In August 2021, Blue Origin decided to file a lawsuit against NASA in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
This started a long lengthy legal battle between NASA and Blue Origin. In fact, this lawsuit prevented SpaceX and NASA from getting much work done under the HLS deal. NASA was forced to agree to pause the project for 2.5 months in August. This was in exchange for resolving the lawsuit by the end of that window.
That window came at the start of this month when finally, a decision was made on the lawsuit. On November the 4th, Judge Richard A. Hertling ruled against the company, granting a motion by the federal government to dismiss the case. The full details of the cases haven’t been released to the public as of the recording of this video. But we do know for sure that the case has been dismissed.
After the announcement, Jeff Bezos took to Twitter to air his disappointment.
Not the decision we wanted, but we respect the court’s judgment, and wish full success for NASA and SpaceX on the contract.

#spacex #starship #blueorigin

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