The move comes after protests from Blue Origin and Dynetics.

Contract Suspension

NASA has told SpaceX to cease all work on their multi-billion dollar lunar lander contract after two other private aerospace companies protested the deal. 

Blue Origin and Dynetics both protested the agency’s decision to award a $2.9 billion contract to build the Artemis program’s lunar landing system solely to SpaceX, according to The Verge. 

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), which manages federal contract disputes, is now tasked with deciding whether or not their protests warrant a reversal of the contract.

"Pursuant to the GAO protests, NASA instructed SpaceX that progress on the HLS contract has been suspended until GAO resolves all outstanding litigation related to this procurement," said NASA in a statement obtained by The Verge.  

Flawed Acquisition

Both Blue Origin and Dynetics filed their protests with the GAO on Monday to challenge the contract. In their filing, Blue Origin warned that awarding the contract to just SpaceX jeopardizes the Artemis program's 2024 goal of returning to the moon. 

"NASA has executed a flawed acquisition for the Human Landing System (HLS) program and moved the goalposts at the last minute," Blue Origin said in a statement obtained by The Verge

The agency initially chose SpaceX due to its reusable rocket system Starship, which boasts a large payload capacity as well as a relatively lower bid.

Billionaire Smack Talk

This all comes at the heels of a billionaire mud-slinging contest between SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos

In fact, Musk took to Twitter to dunk on the Amazon founder after The New York Times reported Blue Origin would be protesting the contract.

Well, Elon. Life comes at you fast. Musk is the one with egg on his face now that his multi-billion dollar NASA contract is in jeopardy. 

Regardless of the outcome, competition in the burgeoning 21st century space race is an awesome thing. For that to happen, though, we need it to be an actual competition — and not just have a single company run by a living meme calling all the shots. 

READ MORE: NASA suspends SpaceX’s $2.9 billion moon lander contract after rivals protest [The Verge]

More on the HLS contract: Elon Musk Just Said That Jeff Bezos “Can’t Get It Up”

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