Jeff Bezos' space company Blue Origin is suing NASA as the fight escalates with SpaceX over a lucrative moon-landing contract

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Jeff Bezos' space company Blue Origin is suing NASA as the fight escalates with SpaceX over a lucrative moon-landing contract
Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. Lambert/ullstein bild/Getty Images; Alex Wong/Getty Images; Blue Origin; Samantha Lee/Business Insider
  • Blue Origin filed a complaint against NASA in federal court on Monday.
  • The lawsuit alleges that NASA improperly evaluated the proposals for its lunar landing project.
  • The filing is Bezos' second attempt to overturn NASA's decision to choose SpaceX over Blue Origin.

Jeff Bezos' space company is taking NASA to federal court after it selected SpaceX over Blue Origin for a lucrative project to put boots back on the moon.

Blue Origin filed the complaint against NASA in the US Court of Federal Claims on Monday. It challenges "NASA's unlawful and improper evaluation of proposals" that were submitted for its Human Landing System Program. The protest is sealed behind a protective order and represents the first step in federal court to overturn NASA's original decision.

A Blue Origin spokesperson confirmed the lawsuit.

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"We firmly believe that the issues identified in this procurement and its outcomes must be addressed to restore fairness, create competition, and ensure a safe return to the Moon for America," Blue Origin said. The company added that it's looking to "remedy the flaws in the acquisition process found in NASA's Human Landing System."

The filing is Bezos' second attempt to alter NASA's decision to select SpaceX for the multibillion-dollar project. Blue Origin filed a complaint with the Government Accountability Office in April, less than two weeks after NASA selected SpaceX.

In the protest, Blue Origin said NASA had promised to select more than one company for the project. It said that the agency's decision was "unfair" and represented favoritism toward SpaceX.

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Last month, the GAO rejected the protest and debunked Bezos' claims that Blue Origin had not been fairly judged. The government officials showed that SpaceX's proposal had received higher marks across the board based on its technology, which took into account issues such as landing in the dark and protecting the health and safety of the crew. Not to mention that SpaceX's price - which was about $3 billion cheaper - was much more feasible for NASA's budget.

In July, Bezos offered to cover an additional $2 billion in costs to compete with SpaceX's price. But in its review of the complaint, the GAO determined that the only way Blue Origin's proposal could truly compete with SpaceX's for a reasonable price was for the technology to be overhauled.

The new lawsuit could further delay NASA's mission to send astronauts to the moon by 2024.

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Blue Origin's initial protest caused SpaceX to halt development on its project for 95 days while the complaint was reviewed.

Bezos' space company notified the federal court of its impending lawsuit last week and requested the court order SpaceX to pause its contract until the claim could be reviewed, The Verge first reported. If the request is granted, SpaceX could face even more months of delays.

Do you work at SpaceX or Blue Origin? Reach out to the reporter at gkay@insider.com

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