Blue Origin’s protests against rival space company SpaceX being awarded NASA’s Artemis lunar lander contract have come to an end. The lawsuit filed by the company was dismissed in a ruling by the sitting judge, effectively terminating the company’s opposition and paving the way for SpaceX to get on with building that lunar landing vehicle.
Blue Origin feeling blue
A very brief ruling granted NASA’s motion to dismiss,”…under Rule 12(b)(1) and Rule 12(b)(6)
of the Rules of the Court of Federal Claims”. SpaceX’s motion for judgment was granted, Blue Origin’s motion for judgment was denied. The reasons for the dismissal weren’t explored, pending a little get-together by the parties concerned.
“So that the Court may release the opinion publicly, the parties shall meet and confer and
jointly propose redactions to the Memorandum Opinion by November 18, 2021. Until the Court
releases the opinion publicly, the parties are reminded that the protective order remains in force
and they shall not disclose either the opinion or any portion of the opinion to any person not
admitted to the protective order,” the order reads. In other words, reasons for the dismissal will become available once everyone involved has redacted any sensitive information contained in the opinion.
Not the decision we wanted, but we respect the court’s judgment, and wish full success for NASA and SpaceX on the contract. pic.twitter.com/BeXc4A8YaW
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) November 4, 2021
Blue Origin’s owner, Jeff Bezos, has indicated via his Twitter account that this is as far as the company goes when it comes to opposing SpaceX’s Artemis contract. This outcome was never really in doubt — while SpaceX has used similar courtroom tactics in the past, they had a legitimate reason for it. Blue Origin’s competing bid for the contract was considerably higher than the more experienced company offered NASA, prompting Bezos to offer to pay the difference himself if NASA would just let them have this one.
Bezos’ space company has other horizons to explore now anyway. The company has announced a partnership with several other companies to create Orbital Reef, a commercial space station for hire maintained by a collection of private entities. That should keep them busy, while they’re not attempting to shoot celebrities off to the edge of space.