Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ space company, is suing the US government over its decision to award a massive lunar exploration contract to its competitor SpaceX, it said in a statement on Monday.
The company has filed a lawsuit with the US Federal Court of Justice “to remedy the shortcomings in the procurement process,” the statement said.
The $ 2.9 billion (approximately Rs.21,540 billion) Human Landing System (HLS) contract was handed over to SpaceX, owned by Bezos’ billionaire rival Elon Musk, in April.
It was protested by the other bidders who argued that NASA would have to win multiple awards and that the evaluation process was unfair.
“We strongly believe that the issues identified in this procurement and their outcomes must be addressed to restore fairness, create competition and ensure a safe return to the moon for America,” said Blue Origin.
Since the loss of the contract, Blue Origin has worked hard to get the decision reversed. It filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office, but in July the watchdog upheld NASA’s decision.
NASA said in a statement Monday that it has been informed of Blue Origin’s lawsuit and is reviewing the case.
“With our partners we will fly and stay to the moon to enable scientific research, develop new technologies and create high-paying jobs for the common good and to send astronauts to Mars,” the statement said.
As part of the Artemis program, NASA plans to bring people back to the moon in the middle of this decade and build a lunar orbital station before sending a manned mission to Mars in the 2030s.
Founded in 2002, Musk is currently NASA’s lead private partner.