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Court filings shed light on Blue Origin vs. SpaceX lunar lander lawsuit, with dark spots

22 Sep 2021, 19:31 UTC
Court filings shed light on Blue Origin vs. SpaceX lunar lander lawsuit, with dark spots
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An artist’s conception shows SpaceX’s Starship rocket ship on the moon. (SpaceX Illustration)
Redacted versions of documents relating to Blue Origin’s federal lawsuit against the federal government and SpaceX lay out further details about the dispute over a multibillion-dollar NASA lunar lander contract, but the details that are left out are arguably just as intriguing.
Today the U.S. Court of Federal Appeals released the 59-page text of the Blue Origin-led industry consortium’s complaint, which was filed in August. The court also shared redacted responses from SpaceX.
The filings focus on NASA’s April decision to award SpaceX a $2.9 billion contract to develop its Starship super-rocket as the landing system for the Artemis program’s first crewed trip to the lunar surface, planned for as early as 2024.
At the time, NASA said that SpaceX’s proposal was technically superior to the concepts offered by Blue Origin and its partners — Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper — and by another competitor, Dynetics. SpaceX had the low bid, with Blue Origin’s team proposing $5.9 billion for its landing system. Draper’s proposal was even more expensive.
The original hope was that NASA might make multiple awards, in the interest of promoting competition and having ...

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