Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos delivers a keynote address at the Air Force Association’s annual Air, Space and Cyberspace conference in Oxen Hill, Maryland on September 19, 2018.
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images
This fall, Jeff Bezos’ company Blue Origin raised a proposal to cover NASA’s lunar astronaut lander by more than $ 1 billion as the company fought in federal court to win SpaceX’s contract award to Elon Musk.
The saga of space billionaire lunar lander – with NASA at the center – began in April, when SpaceX became the sole winner of a $ 2.9 billion contract to use the Starship Musk rocket for the Human Landing System (HLS) agency’s program. This decision led Blue Origin to file a protest with the Government Audit Office, claiming that there were “fundamental problems” with NASA’s decision.
In July, just days before the GAO rejected Blue Origin’s protest, Bezos offered NASA to cover up to $ 2 billion over the first two years of the contract. In an open letter to NASA, Bezos said it was “not too late to fix” the situation. NASA has not publicly responded to the offer, and after Blue Origin sued the agency in August, the company softened the offer during a legal challenge this fall.
Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith raised the offer from $ 2 billion in private funding “to over $ 3 billion.” Smith said in court that the company would “add valuable competition” and help fill NASA’s “budget and funding gap” for the program that resulted in the agency choosing only one company to contract with HLS.
US Federal Judge Richard Hertling, in a court opinion released Thursday explaining why Blue Origin lost the lawsuit, wrote that “Blue Origin’s efforts to negotiate public relations after the ruling in the context of its protest at the auction are insufficient to substantiate a finding that that prejudice. “
“These post-award proposals did not arrive until NASA at the time it issued the award, and NASA was under no obligation to ask Blue Origin to improve its proposal by covering costs or reducing the price,” Hertling said.
The US Federal Claims Court said that Blue Origin’s claim was null and void “because it had no significant chance of being awarded,” and even if it were enforceable, the company would “lose on the merits” of the case.
“Blue Origin claims to have presented an alternative proposal, but the court considers its hypothetical proposal to be speculative and not supported by the protocol,” Hertling wrote in the court’s conclusion.