US space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has agreed to temporarily halt work on a $2.9 billion lunar lander contract awarded to: Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing a NASA spokeswoman.
What happened: The move comes after rival billionaire businessman. and Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) founder Jeff BezosBlue Origin sued the agency this month over the lunar lander contract. Blue Origin’s bid was valued at $5.9 billion, nearly twice as much as Spacex’s bid.
Blue Origin said: his lawsuit, filed last week in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, was “an attempt to correct the flaws in the acquisition process in NASA’s Human Landing System.”
A U.S. judge held a hearing on the case Oct. 14, and NASA has paused work with SpaceX on the human landing system until Nov. 1, the Reuters report said.
Why it matters: The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) had rejected Blue Origin’s protest last month and sided with the space agency over its decision to choose a single supplier of lunar landers.
Blue Origin, the rocket company founded by Bezos, said there were “fundamental issues” with NASA’s decision and that the GAO was unable to address them “because of their limited jurisdiction.”
NASA’s contract aims to land astronauts on the moon as early as 2024
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