The day has finally come.
Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos’ fight with NASA over its Moon program has come to a head, with Bezos is officially suing NASA over its decision to work exclusively with SpaceX on a lunar lander capable of sending astronauts to the lunar surface, The Verge reports.
It’s the escalation of many months of potshots, ridicule, and criticism. Ever since NASA announced that it was awarding its $2.9 Human Landing Systems contract to SpaceX in April — effectively excluding both Blue Origin and fellow competitor Dynetics from the contract — the Bezos-led company has been on a PR tirade to convince NASA it made the wrong call.
The suit could have far reaching consequences for the fate of both NASA’s entire space program and Blue Origin itself, where Ars Technica space journalist Eric Berger reports that many employees are “super disappointed” in the move. Berger also pointed out that the ornery suit could sandbag Blue Origin’s future efforts to secure government contracts.
Bezos went as far as to curry favor with NASA by offering a $2 billion discount to develop his space company’s Blue Moon lander using government funds.
That campaign has now boiled over, with Bezos filing a complaint with the US Court of Federal Claims, according to The Verge. Until now, the complaint was hidden behind a protective order.
Blue Origin “challenges NASA’s unlawful and improper evaluation of proposals,” according to its request to file its complaint in secrecy, which was obtained by The Verge.
The news comes after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) denied both Blue Origin and Dynetics protests late last month.
NASA has faced an uphill battle to secure funding from Congress for its HLS program. The space agency was only provided with a small fraction of what it requested for fiscal year 2021 in November, asking for $3.2 billion but only receiving $1 billion.
As a consequence, the space agency was forced to pick “Option A,” or SpaceX, without providing further funding for the “Option B” of Blue Origin.
Blue Origin’s fight with NASA has only begun. The company’s legal actions will likely delay SpaceX’s efforts even further — but whether the Elon Musk-led company will be swayed by the setback is another question.
READ MORE: Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin sues NASA, escalating its fight for a Moon lander contract [The Verge]
More on the fight: SpaceX Gets Huge Check From NASA for Moon Mission