Blue Origin, the space company owned by Jeff Bezos, is suing the U.S. government over its decision to award a major moon exploration contract to rival SpaceX, the company said in a statement released Monday.
The company filed the lawsuit in U.S. federal court "in an attempt to address flaws" in the way the contract was awarded, the statement said. The $2.9 billion Human Landing System (HLS) contract was awarded to SpaceX, owned by Bezos' rival billionaire Ilon Musk, in April.
As part of the Artemis program, NASA plans to return humans to the moon in the middle of this decade and build a lunar orbital station before sending a crew to Mars in the 2030s.
That decision was protested by other bidders, who argued that NASA should have issued multiple orders and that the evaluation process was unfair. After losing the contract, Blue Origin actively sought to overturn the decision. It filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office, but that body upheld NASA's decision in July.
Musk's company, founded in 2002, is now NASA's leading private-sector partner. NASA said in a statement in response that it has been notified of Blue Origin's lawsuit and is reviewing the case.
Source: reuters, spacenews