By Peter Aitken
The court’s opinion will not be publicly available until sometime in late November, but the ruling will allow NASA and SpaceX to press on with development of the Artemis project, which was on hold during Blue Origin’s challenge.
Blue Origin insists that its lawsuit “highlighted the important safety issues with the Human Landing System procurement process that must still be addressed.”
“Blue Origin remains deeply committed to the success of the Artemis program, and we have a broad base of activity on multiple contracts with NASA to achieve the United States’ goal to return to the Moon to stay. We are fully engaged with NASA to mature sustainable lander designs, conduct a wide variety of technology risk reductions, and provide Commercial Lunar Payload Services,” Blue Origin said in a statement to FOX Business.
Blue Origin pointed to a number of contracts it still has with NASA, and noted that the company will “look forward to hearing from NASA on next steps in the HLS procurement process.”
Company owner and founder Jeff Bezos said Blue Origin would “respect the court’s judgment” despite the ruling being “not the decision we wanted.”
Musk’s only comment was a tweet of Judge Dredd in a meme saying “YOU HAVE BEEN JUDGED!”
NASA awarded SpaceX the contract in April. Blue Origin argued in a protest filed with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that SpaceX received preferential treatment during the Human Landing System selection process, which allowed Elon Musk’s company to adjust the pricing of its proposal. GAO dismissed the petition in July.
Blue Origin then sued NASA in August over the issue, alleging that NASA’s acquisition process was flawed. As part of the lawsuit, Blue Origin attacked the safety of SpaceX’s proposed Starship, claiming the craft would be “immensely complex and high risk.”
A key point of concern centered around claims that Starship would take as many as 16 flights to fully fuel before each lunar landing.
Musk has defended Starship’s capabilities, arguing that while 16 flights would “not be a problem” it is “extremely unlikely.”