Blue Origin, a space company owned by Jeff Bezos, is suing the US government over its decision to award a major lunar exploration contract to competitor SpaceX, the company said in a statement on Monday.
The company has filed a lawsuit with the US Federal Court “in an attempt to remedy deficiencies” in how the contract was awarded, it said in a statement. The $ 2.9 billion contract for the Human Landing System (HLS) was awarded to SpaceX, owned by Bezos rival billionaire Elon Musk, in April.
Under the Artemis program, NASA plans to return humans to the moon in the middle of this decade and build a lunar orbital station, and then send a crew to Mars in the 2030s.
This decision was contested by other bidders who argued that NASA should have issued multiple orders and that the appraisal process was unfair. Following the loss of the contract, Blue Origin actively sought to reverse the decision. She lodged a protest with the Office of Government Accountability, but in July that body supported NASA’s decision.
Founded in 2002, Musk is now NASA’s leading private sector partner. NASA said in a response that it has been notified of the Blue Origin lawsuit and is investigating the case.