United States Government Accountability Office upheld the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s decision to make Elon Musk’s SpaceX the sole winner of a contract to develop the next lunar lander. Despite protests from Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin who has argued that it is unfair of NASA to grant a award to just one company.
NASA opted to award its USD 2.9 billion contract to Musk's SpaceX, rejecting a bid from Bezos’ Blue Origin which had partnered with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper in April, 2021.
The independent space agency initially intended to have at least two private sector companies competing to build a spacecraft for the first moon landing since 1972 which was an initiative dubbed the Human Landing System (HLS).
However, mentioning the budget shortfall, NASA had ultimately gave the job to just one company and had received only USD 850 million of the USD 3.3 billion which the space agency had requested from the Congress.
In response to the NASA decision, the Blue Origin founder had filed a complaint with the Government Accountability Office which has been dismissed. Kenneth Patton, the GAO managing associate general counsel wrote in a statement that NASA did not violate procurement law or regulation when it decided to make only one award.
Patton wrote, "The evaluation of all three proposals was reasonable, and consistent with applicable procurement law, regulation, and the announcement’s terms.”
NASA said in a statement that the decision will allow for the space agency to establish a timeline for the first crew landing on the Moon in more than 50 years .
The world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos personally appealed to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson regarding the contract on Monday and offered to waive up to USD 2 billion in payments roughly over the next two years.