Why NASA said to stop SpaceX

The Artemis program is preparing for the return of humans to the moon in 2024. Despite its ample budget, it called on the private sector to outsource and rationalize certain costs.

Especially since there are now several large industrial companies able to take part in the adventure.

Among the planned vehicles, the lander would have to transport astronauts from space to the lunar surface. One project was awarded to SpaceX with great fanfare on April 16.


Alas: NASA announced this weekend that the project was “on hold.” At issue: A disagreement between two SpaceX rivals, who have appealed to the Government Accountability Office, which has jurisdiction over the matter.

According to ousted rivals Blue Origin and Dynetics, the criteria for choosing SpaceX were questionable.

The call for applications began in 2019. At the end of April 2020, three companies were selected: Blue Origin, Dynetics, and SpaceX.

A year later, NASA entrusted the lucrative $2.9 billion contract to SpaceX, and only it.

The goal: to transform its starship launcher in development into a lunar lander for Artemis.

budget question

NASA justifies its selection through a variety of criteria, including… budget. However, the state ended up paying only a quarter of the $3.3 billion he asked for the two landers, thus keeping both companies.

Immediate fallout: NASA abandoned a second lander and put all its eggs in one basket, named SpaceX.

According to Blue Origin and Dynetics, since the rules have changed, NASA should have re-examined its application requirements at the time. These two companies think they can have it, so please review their offers accordingly.

Post “Moved at the last minute”

According to Blue Origin, “NASA moved the goalposts at the last minute.” If SpaceX is alone and has no choice but to build its lunar lander, it could jeopardize “America’s return to the moon”…

In the Artemis 1 configuration, the SLS rocket will be larger than the Statue of Liberty and more powerful than the famous – and already large – Saturn V, which took the first astronauts to the moon soil.

Space company SpaceX is also developing a heavy-duty launcher, Starship, for travel to the moon and even Mars. But the rocket’s final test ended with an impressive explosion.

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