Blue Origin CEO Jeff Bezos, NASA said, is jeopardizing the space agency's plans to launch its first crewed mission to the Moon since 1972 as part of space agency's Artemis program.
The space agency stressed that Blue Origin intends to "prioritize its own fortunes over that of NASA, the United States, and every person alive today."
The Verge obtained the court papers from the 'cash-strapped' NASA through a Freedom of Information Act request. Bezos previously sued NASA when the space agency awarded SpaceX a contract to develop a lunar lander for future visits to the Moon.
Blue Origin CEO Jeff Bezos Is 'Prioritising Itself Over Every Other Person Alive Today'
NASA has slammed Jeff Bezos' space company Blue Origin in leaked documents, citing the billionaire founder's plan to sue NASA. Daily Mail said the space agency has found itself in a condition to restart human space exploration past low earth orbit.
"All of this once-in-a-generation momentum can easily be undone by one party - in this case, Blue Origin - who seeks to prioritize its own fortunes over that of Nasa, the United States, and every person alive today who dreams to see humans exploring worlds beyond our own," the legal filings said per The Independent.
According to the space agency, what starts off as a simple procurement delay all too often evolves into a lack of political backing. They went on to say that a funding is siphoned out for other projects, and the mission is eventually cancelled. If successful, Blue Origin's legal challenge could cancel NASA's contract with SpaceX and compel the space agency to redo the bidding process.
Blue Origin Lost Its Bet
Interesting Engineering said Blue Origin "gambled" with its initial $5.9 billion lunar lander price. The price was allegedly set considerably higher than required because Bezos' firm expected NASA to grant the contract and then negotiate a cheaper price. Blue Origin apparently allegedly expected NASA would receive the entire funds required from Congress for that first price, despite the Senate's unambiguous indication that NASA would not. Rather of haggling over the price, NASA chose SpaceX's $2.9 billion bid. Engadget said Blue Origin tried to overturn the decision and even made a last-ditch $2 billion offer, but it was too late.
On the other hand, NASA claims that private aerospace businesses were told to submit their best proposal first. The agency cited seven prior instances in which the agency notified bidders of its ultimate choice, as well as how many companies' contracts it could afford to enter based on funding from Congress. When NASA discovered that Congress would only pay one-quarter of what the agency sought, Blue Origin retorted that NASA should have modified or abandoned its requirements for the lunar lander mission.
Bezos' space company also claimed that the actuality of NASA's decision to include SpaceX solely in action lacked fairness, which the agency denied in hundreds of pages of detailed rebuttals. We don't know how long the legal battle will go on, but in general, NASA's new position appears to be that "Blue Origin took a bet and lost."
SpaceX, NASA Did Not Break Rules, But Elon Musk's Company Isn't Completely Innocent
The Government Accountability Office even stepped in to the scene and dismissed Blue Origin's allegations against NASA. According to Engadget, GAO said NASA did not break any rules in selecting SpaceX. Two weeks later, Bezos' company filed a lawsuit against NASA.
Blue Origin VP Megan Mitchell told The Verge that the firm disagreed with NASA's viewpoints in an interview. She thought Blue Origin had offered a "fantastic offer" and that it differed from NASA's gambling assessment. Separately, the GAO found that NASA messed up its safety assessment standards for the plan, but it still sided with SpaceX since Blue Origin failed to demonstrate how the move gave them an unfair advantage.
This isn't to imply Musk and SpaceX are entirely blameless. After losing an Air Force rocket contract to Blue Origin and other rivals, another Engadget report said SpaceX sued the US in 2019.