The six-month dispute over who will build a manned lunar lander for NASA, which the astronauts of the Artemis program will use to land on the moon, has just ended. The end of the dispute means that the winner can finally get to work.
In April 2021, NASA announced that it had decided to award a contract to build a manned lunar lander to SpaceX. The selection of one contractor instead of the originally planned two made the other participants in the selection procedure protest. Both Dynetics and Blue Origin argued that the original plan was to select two companies that would receive a contract to build the entire lander. Over the past six months, Jeff Bezos has repeatedly criticized SpaceX and Elon Musk, appealing against every verdict that confirmed SpaceX’s original choice.
On Thursday, November 4, 2021, the Federal Compensation Court dismissed Jeff Bezos’s lawsuit against NASA and said the agency had the right to choose one contractor. Thus, SpaceX may finally begin work on the construction of the lander.
Jeff Bezos, in turn, admitted on Twitter that he did not intend to appeal against the ruling. Perhaps his latest idea, a space station called Orbital Reef, will now become the main project implemented by Blue Origin.
The six-month battle significantly reduced the chances of a timely start of manned flights to the moon under the Artemis program. Originally, the first astronauts in the 21st century were to stand on the moon in 2024. Now there is no chance for that anymore. Not only has the agency not yet produced a single moon suit for the crew (after 10 years of work), Elon Musk has an extremely difficult task ahead of him: completing the development of the Starship orbital rocket, and then building a lunar lander based on it, which will be he drove astronauts between the lunar surface and the Gateway space station in orbit around the moon. Of course, the station itself is not there yet. Meanwhile, until 2024 there are just over two years left.