A federal judge has shot down Blue Origin's lawsuit against NASA for its decision to award SpaceX — rather than both SpaceX and Blue Origin — its coveted Human Landing Systems contract.
It's a major hit to Blue Origin's tireless legal actions against NASA's decision to choose its competitor, and a major win for SpaceX. The Elon Musk-led company could soon get back to work toward returning astronauts to the lunar surface in a matter of just three years.
In true Elon Musk fashion, the billionaire CEO posted a screenshot of the 1995 movie "Judge Dredd" on Twitter with the words "you have been judged" overlaid.
Here's the saga so far: NASA is contracting SpaceX to develop a lunar lander for the agency's upcoming crewed trips to the Moon, which are tentatively scheduled to begin as soon as 2024.
NASA's decision to choose SpaceX as the sole winner of the HLS contract back in April was met with rage by Blue Origin. The company filed a lawsuit in August against NASA, which ended up turning into a massive setback for SpaceX's plans to develop a lunar variant of its Starship spacecraft. That's because NASA was forced to halt the $2.9 billion contract, ceasing all work.
Now, judge Richard Hertling denied Blue Origin's motion for judgement in US Federal Court of Claims, according to a statement obtained by New York Times space reporter Joey Roulette.
The judge has now ordered both parties, Blue Origin and NASA, to meet and discuss how to go forward.
The decision didn't come as a shock.
"No surprise here," space policy expert Casey Dreier tweeted in response.
Musk is likely having a good day in light of the decision. Bezos' litigious efforts have been a thorn in the side for Musk, leading to him openly mocking Bezos on a number of occasions.
"Turns out Besos [sic] retired in order to pursue a full-time job filing lawsuits against SpaceX," Musk tweeted in August, following news that Bezos was spending less time at Amazon to focus more on Blue Origin's day-to-day operations.
In early September, Musk went as far as to suggest that SpaceX should "zap [Bezos] on the head with our space lasers."
"He should consider spending some money on actual lunar lander hardware, instead of shady lobbyists," Musk tweeted at the time.
Is this end of Blue Origin's efforts to contest NASA's decision? All we can do is wait and see.
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