Private space companies Blue Origin and Dynetics are protesting with the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) in response to NASA’s decision to make them a competitor. Spacex the sole winner of the contract for the construction of a lunar lander for the Artemis program.
Earlier this month NASA names SpaceX the sole winner of the competition between three companies to design and build a lunar lander that will send the next NASA astronauts to the moon along with Artemis. NASA Artemis program aims to return astronauts to the lunar surface by 2024 – an ambitious timetable set by the administration of former President Donald Trump and not revised since the administration of President Joe Biden came to power.
Monday (April 26th) both Blue origin and Dynetics filed objections to the GAO over the contract award, citing “incorrect acquisition” of the program and “concerns and concerns” in the contracting process.
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“NASA made a mistaken acquisition for the Human Landing System (HLS) program and moved goalposts at the last minute,” Blue Origin officials said in a statement emailed to Space.com.
“In its own words, NASA made a ‘high risk’ choice. Their solution eliminates the possibility of competition, significantly narrows the supply base, and not only delays, but also threatens America’s return to the moon. Because of this, we filed a protest with the GAO, ”the statement reads.
Dynetics also unhappy with how the HLS contracting process for the lunar lander went, the statement said. tweeted by SpaceNews senior writer Jeff Fust that “Dynetics firmly believes that our HLS design offers great potential to contribute to the objectives of NASA’s HLS program, and we believe that NASA’s original plan to continue to compete remains the best approach to ensuring the program’s success.”
The “continuous competition” referenced by Dynetics is the idea that NASA originally planned to select two of three competitors for a contract to continue the competition and create a backup lander design. It came as a surprise to some when NASA chose only one of three companies for the contract, instead of two.
“Dynetics has problems and issues with some aspects of the acquisition process, as well as elements of NASA’s technical assessment, and has filed an objection with the GAO to resolve them. We respect this process and hope for a fair and informed solution to the issue, ”he said. the company said, adding that this would be the only comment they would make on the matter.
Blue Origin also disagreed that NASA chose only one rather than two competitors for the contract. In an edited public version of its protest document emailed to Space.com, Blue Origin states that “In the process of preparing and submitting the proposal, NASA has declared its strong intention to award two awards, but due to perceived shortcomings in the currently available and anticipated future budget allocations, he only made the SpaceX award. ”
The protest document explains that this decision by NASA, according to Blue Origin, eliminated competition and effectively solidified all current and future crewed moon landing capabilities for SpaceX, leaving no room for others.
The company also argues in its protest that “NASA’s evaluation and contract award process is inconsistent with federal procurement laws and regulations and should be canceled.”
The document goes on to list the reasons why the agency’s decision to select SpaceX exclusively is “flawed,” including the assertion that the decision prevented the other two participants from “meaningfully competing” and that both the process and the decision contradicted Broad. Advertising Agency (BAA) Rules and Practices, among others.
Email Chelsea Gohd at cgohd@ or follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.