The US federal government has rejected an appeal by billionaire Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin to get in on Nasa’s plans to return astronauts to the moon by using rival Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
Nasa in April awarded the £2 billion contract for a lunar lander to the more established SpaceX, which also offered a cheaper price than the bids from Blue Origin and Dynetics, a subsidiary of Leidos.
The two losing companies appealed over the contract to the Government Accountability Office on the grounds that there should have been multiple contracts and that the proposals were not evaluated correctly, but the agency rejected their request.
The decision will allow “Nasa and SpaceX to establish a timeline for the first crewed landing on the moon in more than 50 years”, Nasa said in a statement, calling a moon landing a priority of the Biden administration.
The ruling found that even though Nasa originally said it was going to give multiple contracts, it did not have enough money and that awarding only one contract was legal.
In addition, it also found Nasa’s evaluation of the bids “was reasonable, and consistent with applicable procurement law regulation and the announcement terms”.
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