Jeff Bezos Escalates Battle With NASA, Blue Origin Loses Prime Moon Lander Engineer to SpaceX

Jeff Bezos introduces Blue Origin’s lunar lander “Blue Moon” on the Walter E. Washington Conference Middle. Jonathan Newton / The Washington Publish through Getty Photos

Jeff Bezos’ house firm Blue Origin has escalated its dispute with NASA over the company’s Human Touchdown System (HLS) contract to a federal courtroom after shedding a case earlier than the U.S. Authorities Accountability Workplace.

Blue Origin was one of many three non-public companies competing for a NASA contract to construct a human touchdown car on the moon. In April, NASA awarded a $2.9 billion contract to SpaceX and chosen the Elon Musk-led firm as the only real companion for the HLS venture. Blue Origin’s proposal, estimated to price $5.9 billion, together with a equally costly bid by Dynetics, had been rejected.

On Friday, Blue Origin filed a criticism with the U.S. Court docket of Federal Claims to problem “NASA’s illegal and improper analysis of proposals” submitted in the course of the bidding course of, stated legal professionals for Blue Origin, The Verge first reported.

The lawsuit got here after Blue Origin and Dynetics did not problem NASA’s resolution earlier than the federal watchdog, the U.S. Authorities Accountability Workplace, which dominated earlier this month that NASA had run a good competitors.

“Blue Origin filed swimsuit within the U.S. Court docket of Federal Claims in an try to treatment the issues within the acquisition course of present in NASA’s Human Touchdown System,” an organization spokesperson stated in an e-mail to Observer. “We firmly consider that the problems recognized on this procurement and its outcomes have to be addressed to revive equity, create competitors, and guarantee a protected return to the moon for America.”

Nonetheless, it’s an ironic distinction to what Bezos stated about bidding wars for NASA contracts simply three years in the past.

At a chat in the course of the JFK House Summit in 2019, Bezos overtly criticized bid protests as a barrier slowing down NASA’s house exploration efforts. Evaluating as we speak’s contracting course of with the extra streamlined system within the Sixties, he stated, “Right now, there can be three protests, and the losers would sue the federal authorities as a result of they didn’t win.”

A NASA spokesperson stated the company is “presently reviewing particulars of the case.”

Additionally on Friday, Blue Origin misplaced a prime engineer on its moon lander workforce to its worst enemy. The corporate’s HLS Mission Structure and Integration Lead, Nitin Arora, introduced on his LinkedIn web page on Monday that he had left Blue Origin to affix SpaceX. His final day was Friday.

Arora was a former engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). He joined Blue Origin in 2018 to work on the corporate’s “Blue Moon” lunar lander. “It was one hell of a experience engaged on the lunar program. Actually honored that I obtained an opportunity to work with and lead extremely good, passionate individuals over [the] final three years,” Arora wrote in a LinkedIn publish on Monday.