Blue Origin Lunar Lander Lead Engineer Resigns & Joins SpaceX Amid Jeff Bezos’ NASA HLS Contract Lawsuit

by Evelyn Arevalo August 17, 2021

Blue Origin Lunar Lander Lead Engineer Resigns & Joins SpaceX Amid Jeff Bezos’ NASA HLS Contract Lawsuit

A new space race officially started when Blue Origin, Dynetics, and SpaceX, submitted proposals to develop NASA’s Artemis Human Landing System (HLS) that will land the first woman and next man on the Moon. NASA declared SpaceX the sole winner of a $2.9 billion HLS contract in April. Under the HLS contract, SpaceX will develop a lunar-optimized Starship designed to land astronauts and tons of cargo on the Moon. The spacecraft will be fully-reusable, capable of flying many times between the lunar surface and lunar orbit.

The agency is facing opposition and protests from Blue Origin, that claims the selection process was “unfair.” On July 30, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) rejected the HLS contract protests. “NASA did not violate procurement law or regulation when it decided to make only one award. NASA’s announcement provided that the number of awards the agency would make was subject to the amount of funding available for the program,” GAO wrote. After losing the case, Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos is now escalating the dispute. He filed a lawsuit against NASA on Friday (August 13) to fight for the HLS contract at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. “This bid protest challenges NASA's unlawful and improper evaluation of proposals,” Blue Origin's lawyers wrote in its federal court filing.

Bezos decision to file a lawsuit against NASA is clearly causing tensions within the company. In a wild turn of events, Blue Origin’s HLS Lunar Lander Lead Engineer Nitin Arora resigned to join SpaceX amid Bezos’ HLS contract lawsuit. “Friday (August 13th) was my last day at Blue Origin,” Arora announced in a LinkedIn post, “It was one hell of a ride working on the lunar program. Really honored that I got a chance to work with and lead incredibly smart, passionate people over last three years. Special thanks to everyone who I worked with daily. I will miss you all. Next stop, SpaceX! I am incredibly excited and looking forward to it,” Arora said. 

 

Featured Image Source: NASA 








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