Despite competitor’s protests to get the Lunar Lander contract, NASA continued to pay SpaceX $300 million for the developments. When asked about whether the developments will be finished by 2024, Elon Musk replied, “Probably sooner”. On August 12, Elon Musk made fun of Blue Origin for fighting to get the contract.
For months now, SpaceX competitors kept fighting against NASA giving many contracts to SpaceX. Blue Origin’s spokesperson conveyed that they are taking this fight to court saying that there are issues with the contract. To which Elon Musk replied by showing a photo of Blue Origin’s Blue Moon that looked like a balloon with air coming out.
Somehow, this wasn’t convincing … pic.twitter.com/qAn8Y6i5Ys
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 12, 2021
Despite all the protests, NASA continues to pay SpaceX for the contract. A major payment of $300 million was observed to be paid under the HLS program towards Starship. Interestingly it was the day GAO denied the protests by Blue Origin and Dynetics against NASA’s HLS contract.
NASA paid $300 million to SpaceX, its most recent major payment under the HLS program toward Starship, on July 30 (the day the GAO denied the protests of Blue Origin and Dynetics):https://t.co/TkISN3yWUU pic.twitter.com/nmTqDDs7mr
— Michael Sheetz (@thesheetztweetz) August 14, 2021
SpaceX won the $3 billion contract in April. As per the requirements, NASA wants the most ambitious date as 2024, by when humans can return to the moon. SpaceX is to design and build a Lunar Lander which can go to and come back from the moon. Blue Origin protested legally by submitting a document to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). However, GAO denied the protests. After this, Elon Musk confirmed that the Starship Lunar Lander will possibly be ready before 2024.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 15, 2021
SpaceX has been closely working with NASA for many missions. The self-propelled space station to the moon will also be launched by SpaceX. Falcon Heavy was selected by the agency in February this year. Later in April, Falcon Heavy beats the ULA Vulcan rocket which was originally planned to send NASA rover and commercial lander to the moon by 2023.
The main reason which SpaceX’s competitors seem to neglect is that NASA has been working with them all along. SpaceX already sent NASA astronauts to ISS last year and this year. Both the launches were safe, quick, and advanced in many ways. SpaceX aims to be able to send humans to Mars one day, possibly create a city on the planet.
Besides the NASA contracts, SpaceX has been working on its own projects, where they are planning to work on communication with Starlink satellites. Unlike Blue Origin which successfully sent citizens to space. Such comparison may not work considering both SpaceX and Blue Origin plan to send civilians to space. There is no argument that Blue Origin comparatively has lesser detailed explanations about their launches.