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Saturday, May 8, 2021

NASA tells SpaceX to halt lunar lander work

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NASA tells SpaceX to halt lunar lander work
NASA tells SpaceX to halt lunar lander work

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

This report produced by Jonah Green.

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

Earlier this month, the U.S. space agency awarded SpaceX the lunar contract over billionaire Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and defense contractor Dynetics.

But on Monday Blue Origin 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.

A SpaceX spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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

But until the GAO ruling, which is expected early August, SpaceX's lunar ambitions are grounded.

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