NASA halts SpaceX work on Lunar Lander after Blue Origin lawsuit

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NASA on Thursday agreed to temporarily suspend work on a $ 2.9 billion (approximately Rs.21.587 billion) lunar lander contract awarded to SpaceX by Elon Musk after rival billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin the US government had sued, said an agency spokeswoman.

Blue Origin said its lawsuit, filed in the US Federal Court last week, was “an attempt to correct the flaws in the acquisition process for NASA’s Human Landing System.” A US judge has scheduled a hearing on the case on October 14th.

NASA said in a statement it had suspended work with SpaceX on the human landing system until November 1.

“In return for this temporary work stay, all parties have agreed on an accelerated litigation schedule that ends on November 1st,” said the US space agency. “NASA officials are continuing to work with the Justice Department to review the details of the case and look forward to a timely resolution of this matter.”

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) sided with NASA last month in the decision to select a single lunar landing company and rejected Blue Origin’s protest.

SpaceX, led by Tesla CEO Musk, intervened in the lawsuit this week to ensure that the court has “a complete and accurate picture of the facts and circumstances of this protest, including the significant damage SpaceX will suffer if the court so requested Remedy granted ”. “by Blue Origin.

SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Blue Origin, the rocket company founded by Amazon founder Bezos, remains convinced that there were “fundamental problems” with NASA’s decision and that GAO was unable to address them “because of its limited jurisdiction.”

NASA, as part of its Artemis program, was looking for proposals for a spacecraft that would take astronauts to the surface of the moon, bringing people back to the moon for the first time since 1972.

The space agency said Thursday that it is “committed to Artemis and committed to maintaining the country’s global leadership in space exploration. With our partners, we will fly and stay to the moon to enable scientific exploration, develop new technologies and create high-paying jobs for.” “creating the greater good and in preparation to send astronauts to Mars.”

In April, NASA SpaceX placed an order to build such a spacecraft as early as 2024.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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