Since around August 2021, NASA has been embroiled in a lawsuit from Jeff Bezos aeronautics company Blue Origin over a lunar lander contract given to Elon Musk’s competing SpaceX company. That lawsuit has recently been settled. A federal judge ruled in favor of NASA, shutting down Blue Origin’s claim that NASA had engaged in “unlawful and improper evaluation of proposals” for the contract. SpaceX and NASA will now continue work on the Artemis program, which aims to establish a long-term human presence on the Earth’s Moon.
This verdict was delivered by Federal Judge Richard Hertling this week, as reported by CNBC. The core of the lawsuit was that Blue Origin believed SpaceX had wrongfully been awarded the contract and “disregarded key flight safety requirements” in the process. This embroiled the three entities - Blue Origin, NASA, and SpaceX - in a lawsuit that went on throughout the previous months since, during which Musk chided Bezos for allegedly trying to “sue [his] way to the moon.”
Hertling’s verdict upholds NASA’s decision to award the contract to SpaceX and, in a separate statement, NASA declared that it would continue work with SpaceX immediately on the Artemis program. Elon Musk also took a further jab at Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin, posting a Judge Dredd meme on word of the verdict posted by CNBC.
Despite losing the lawsuit, a spokesperson for Blue Origin shared that there are still concerns about safety in the Artemis program technology that need to be addressed. Regardless, it was also stated that Blue Origin intends to continue to aid in the program’s success.
“Returning astronauts safely to the Moon through NASA’s public-private partnership model requires an unprejudiced procurement process alongside sound policy that incorporates redundant systems and promotes competition. Blue Origin remains deeply committed to the success of the Artemis program,” Blue Origin said.
With the lawsuit from Blue Origin settled and NASA moving back into action on the Artemis program with the help of SpaceX, it will be interesting to see what comes next in aeronautics technology and development in the highly competitive field.