Blue Origin’s Protest Prompts NASA to Order SpaceX to Halt Lunar Lander Work

U.S. space agency NASA has told Elon Musk’s SpaceX to halt work under a contract it won to develop a lunar spacecraft, pending the outcome of challenges by rival bidders at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the agency said on Friday.

NASA’s decision means SpaceX has to stop any work specifically related to the moon program contract until the GAO makes a ruling, expected Aug. 4 at the latest.

Earlier this month, NASA awarded SpaceX the lunar contract over billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and defense contractor Dynetics.

The high-profile project aims to put humans back on the moon for the first time since 1972.

Blue Origin on Monday filed a protest with the GAO, arguing among other things that NASA gave SpaceX the chance to revise its bid but did not give that chance to Blue Origin.

Blue Origin also argues the decision extends SpaceX’s “monopolistic” control in space exploration.

The GAO confirmed that Dynetics has also challenged the NASA contract award to SpaceX.

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