Blue Origin issued an official protest against NASA's decision to award Elon Musk's SpaceX with a $2.9 billion contract to construct a new lunar lander for the upcoming Artemis mission.
NASA told SpaceX to pause the construction of the new lunar lander until the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a decision on the protest. That decision was announced by the GAO on Friday, and the "congressional watchdog" stated that "NASA did not violate procurement law or regulation when it decided to make only one award," which was Blue Origin's entire defense in protesting the initial decision.
The GAO stated, "The announcement reserved the right to make multiple awards, a single award, or no award at all. In reaching its award decision, NASA concluded that it only had sufficient funding for one contract award. As a result, GAO denied the protest arguments that NASA acted improperly in making a single award to SpaceX."
In response to the GAO decision, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk replied to a tweet by Everything SpaceX saying, "GAO" and then the strong-arm emoji, suggesting that the GAO is strong. Additionally, Blue Origin responded with a spokesperson saying:
"We stand firm in our belief that there were fundamental issues with NASA's decision, but the GAO wasn't able to address them due to their limited jurisdiction. We'll continue to advocate for two immediate providers as we believe it is the right solution. The Human Landing System [HLS] program needs to have competition now instead of later - that's the best solution for NASA and the best solution for our country."
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