NASA Human Landing System award in protests by Blue Origin

NASA Human Landing System award in protests by Blue Origin

Blue Origin files a protest against the Government Accountability Office on 26th April. The protest is over NASA’s decision to opt for only SpaceX for its Human Landing System (HLS) program. It argues that the agency “shifts the goalpost” of the competition.

The firm, in a long filing with the GAO, claims that in addition to not giving corporations the opportunity to alter their proposals to replicate the agency’s limited budget for HLS. NASA inappropriately evaluates components of its proposal as well as the one by SpaceX. This is the firm that won the $2.89 billion deal on 16th April in order to develop a crewed lunar lander and carry out a protest operation.

The company says in a statement about the protest, “the decision is high-risk. Meaning, NASA executes an acquisition for the Human Landing System program and shifts the goalpost at the last moment.”

Details of Blue Origin’s statement in the GAO protest is as follows:
  • “National Team” comprises Draper, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman
  • Bid value $5.99 billion for the HLS award, more than twice SpaceX’s bid
  • Argument on not receiving an opportunity to alter that bid
  • This is when NASA concludes the funding accessible would not permit it to select two bidders, as initially anticipated
  • NASA requests $3.3 billion for HLS in its financial year 2021 budget proposal but got only $850 million in December 2020
  • NASA’s source assortment justification inappropriately justifies the choice of a lone provider as a result of anticipation from future funding for the HLS Program
  • The combination of its bid and SpaceX’s bid which is around $9 billion, is similar to what NASA spends on the commercial crew program
  • This is when where NASA makes 2 awards with less accessible financing and less out-year funding assurance

Brent Sherwood is the senior vice president of progressive development programs at Blue Origin. He says that the firm gets no feedback from the proposal. This is until NASA notified it on 16th April that the agency does not select it for an award.

He writes if NASA notifies Blue Origin that the Source Selection Official’s assessment of accessible out-year budget. Blue Origin could welcome the opportunity to offer precise alterations in a revised proposal. This is in order to have the company pay a higher share of the overall advancement cost.


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