This decision is due to protests from the aerospace corporation Blue Origin and the company Dynetics.
US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has decided to suspend the contract with the US Company SpaceX to develop and create the lunar lander for $2.9 billion after protests from the aerospace corporation Blue Origin and the company Dynetics. This is stated in a written statement issued by NASA spokeswoman Monica Witt.
On April 16, the agency announced that SpaceX would receive a contract to create a module for landing astronauts on the surface of a natural satellite of the Earth as part of the Artemis program. In addition to SpaceX, Blue Origin and Dynetics competed for the contract. This week, they both protested this decision in the Government Accountability Office of the United States (GAO, Congress control and audit body).
“In connection with the protests filed with the GAO, NASA has informed SpaceX that the implementation of the contract for the [development] of the lander is suspended until the GAO resolves all remaining litigation related to this purchase,” Witt said. Thus, until the settlement of disputes, the company, the head of which is the entrepreneur Elon Musk, will not receive funds from the management to develop the device. SpaceX’s reusable Starship spacecraft, designed for flights to Mars and designed for 100 people, received the contract due to its significant transport capabilities and a total cost of $2.9 billion, which is much cheaper than Blue Origin and Dynetics, NASA previously explained. As reported by The Washington Post, it was expected that the office would choose two companies from the three. For example, NASA usually selects several firms in other large projects to encourage competition and provide a reserve in case one of them fails to meet the contract.