In this leaflet provided by NASA, Acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk observes the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the balcony of Operations Support Building II, carrying the company’s Crew Dragon starship on NASA’s SpaceX Crew 2 mission with NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur The ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut, Thomas Pesquet, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut, Akihiko Hoshide, will be at the Kennedy Space Center on April 23, 2021 On board NASA in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
NASA | Getty Images
The US space agency NASA has ordered Elon Musks SpaceX to cease work under a contract to develop a lunar spacecraft pending the challenges of the competing bidders at the US Government Accountability Office, the agency said on Friday.
NASA’s decision means SpaceX must suspend all work related to the lunar program contract until GAO makes a decision, which is expected no later than August 4th.
A SpaceX spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Earlier this month, NASA awarded SpaceX the lunar contract for billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and defense contractor Dynetics.
The high-profile project aims to put humans back on the moon for the first time since 1972.
Blue Origin filed a protest at GAO on Monday, arguing, among other things, that NASA gave SpaceX the opportunity to revise its offer, but Blue Origin did not give that chance.
Blue Origin also argues that the decision extends SpaceX’s “monopoly” control over space exploration.
GAO confirmed that Dynetics has also contested NASA’s contract award to SpaceX.
“Due to the GAO protests, NASA instructed SpaceX to suspend progress on the Human Landing System (HLS) contract until GAO resolved any pending litigation related to this procurement,” the agency said Friday.