Last week, Blue Origin, a company founded by Jeff Bezos, sued NASA over a contract to develop a new lunar lander for the Artemis program. However, Bill Nelson, NASA administrator, says this new deployment should indeed result in even “more delays” to meet the goal of getting astronauts back to the lunar surface, which was estimated for 2024.
In his speech, Nelson explained that Justice Department lawyers are responsible for the case, not NASA. “But my understanding of our lawyers, who are in contact with those at the Department of Justice, is that they should have an idea of the timeline going into the next two weeks,” he said in an interview.
Blue Origin sued NASA after the space agency announced SpaceX as the sole winner of the contract for the development of the new lunar lander, with the dispute also involving the company Dynetics. Bezos’ company didn’t like the outcome and has since struggled to change NASA’s decision—and the latest chapter in the conflict came with Blue Origin’s lawsuit against the space agency.
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As a result, the contract for the development of the lunar lander was suspended for the second time – the first was when Blue Origin and Dynetics filed protests against the choice, which were ultimately rejected by the responsible agency – and is expected to be suspended until today November 1st. Nelson pointed out that, now, the issue is no longer in NASA’s hands, “but rather in the legal system and in the Department of Justice.”
To top it off, the space agency faces other challenges in parallel: a recent report showed that even if the lunar lander is ready in 2024, the new space suits used by astronauts to walk on the Moon’s surface are also delayed and should be completed at the very least. in April of the following year, making it difficult to meet the schedule.
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