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Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin loses NASA suit over SpaceX contract

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Jeff Bezos’ space tourism company Blue Origin on Thursday lost its lawsuit against NASA over the agency’s decision to award a $2.9 billion contract to Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

Judge Richard Hertling of the US Court of Federal Claims ruled in favor SpaceX, though the court’s opinion remains sealed because the case contains proprietary information about the two companies.

A Blue Origin spokesperson said the lawsuit “highlighted the important safety issues with the Human Landing System procurement process that must still be addressed.”

“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,” the spokesperson said.

“We are fully engaged with NASA to mature sustainable lander designs, conduct a wide variety of technology risk reductions, and provide Commercial Lunar Payload Services.

“We are also under contract with NASA to develop in-situ resource utilization technology, lunar space robotics, and lunar landing sensor collaboration including testing on New Shepard. We look forward to hearing from NASA on next steps in the HLS procurement process.”

In a tweet, Musk posted a photo from the 1995 movie “Judge Dredd” in which a character declares, “You have been judged!”

Blue Origin sued NASA in August, saying that it unfairly awarded a major contract for the so-called Human Lander System to SpaceX.

Blue Origin, SpaceX and Dynetics, a subsidiary of Leidos, had all bid on the contract for the system, which is seen as a key part of NASA’s plan to return American astronauts to the moon by 2024.

The companies expected NASA to issue two awards for the project, but in an April surprise, NASA awarded a single $2.89 billion contract to Musk’s SpaceX tasking the company with building the next crewed lunar lander.

Elon Musk is the founder and CEO of SpaceX.
Elon Musk is the founder and CEO of SpaceX.
Britta Pedersen/Pool via AP

Blue Origin quickly filed a formal complaint with the Government Accountability Office arguing that they were not given a chance to revise their price during the competition, unlike SpaceX.

But in September, the GAO said it “denied the protest arguments that NASA acted improperly in making a single award to SpaceX.”

In another attempt to get in on the project, Blue Origin offered to cover billions in costs if NASA would award it a parallel contract to the one SpaceX received.

Bezos wrote in a letter to NASA administrator Bill Nelson Blue Origin would waive up to $2 billion in payments in the first couple years of the contract.

A SpaceX launch.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule on launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center after its scheduled launch was delayed on Nov. 1, 2021
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

He also said the company would pay for a demonstration mission to low-Earth orbit if the agency were to award the company a fixed-price Human Landing System contract.

“We stand ready to help NASA moderate its technical risks and solve its budgetary constraints and put the Artemis Program back on a more competitive, credible, and sustainable path,” Bezos wrote in the letter.

Since then, Musk — whose net worth recently soared past that of Bezos to make the Tesla CEO the world’s wealthiest man — has continually mocked Bezos, tell him that “you can’t sue your way to the moon.”

Representatives for NASA and SpaceX did not immediately return The Post’s request for comment.

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