Elon Musk’s excitement over his company, SpaceX, getting the Artemis lunar lander contract with NASA may have come a bit too soon, after the agency halted work on the project following the influence of legal challenges posed by SpaceX’s rivals Blue Origins and Dynetics.
“NASA instructed SpaceX that progress on the HLS [human landing system] contract has been suspended until GAO [US Government Accountability Office] resolves all outstanding litigation related to this procurement,” said NASA spokesperson Monica Witt.
The latest decision comes a mere two weeks after NASA granted SpaceX the “firm-fixed price, milestone-based contract” that comes affixed with a whooping $2.89 billion value. Musk’s Starship was chosen as the main support for the HLS, beating out its rivals Dynetics and Jeff Bezos-backed Blue Origin.
Dynetics, an Alabama-based subsidiary of Leidos, filed a legal complaint alleging NASA failed to take into account that four of Musk’s Starships had “exploded at various stages of their lest flight in recent months.” Similarly, Bezos’ Blue Origins also challenged NASA’s decision, contending that there were “errors” throughout the process that need to be accounted for and fixed.
The latest corporate battles are a setback for NASA, which has been attempting to revive America’s lunar program. Named after the twin sister of Apollo, Artemis was first launched by the Trump administration back in 2017, with the goal of landing on the moon come 2024. However, that agenda was soon put into jeopardy, after Congress refrained from fully funding the project following the Democratic presidency.
Information for this briefing was found via Reuters and SpaceNews. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.