Blue Origin says SpaceX’s Starship ‘high risk’ for moon landing

WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:

  • Blue Origin is criticizing NASA’s decision of awarding the lunar mission contract to Elon Musk’s SpaceX. 
  • According to Blue Origin, NASA ran an unfair competition.
  • The government denied Blue Origin’s protest against NASA’s decision. 

Jeff Bezos’ space company continues to criticize NASA’s decision to choose Elon Musk’s SpaceX to build a spacecraft that will take astronauts to the moon, even after the government denied Blue Origin’s protest last week.

On Wednesday, Blue Origin posted an infographic on their website and said that SpaceX using Starship for the NASA lunar mission is an “immensely complex & high risk” approach. Blue Origin is criticizing how NASA officials evaluated Starship for the mission.

“There are an unprecedented number of technologies, developments, and operations that have never been done before for Starship to land on the Moon,” wrote Blue Origin.

Blue Origin protested NASA’s awarding of the $2.9 billion contract to SpaceX, but the U.S. Government Accountability Office denied the protest on Friday. 

Blue Origin decried NASA’s decision in three one-page documents, calling it as “wrong for America’s leadership in space”. The space company also repeated its earlier comment that NASA “ran an inconsistent and unfair competition”, though the congressional watchdog said that the space agency did not.

Blue Origin is demanding NASA to award a second contract under the original acquisition structure of the Human Landing System. NASA has said it would offer future contracts worth $45 million or less under HLS through Lunar Exploration Transportation Services awards. 

Starship criticism


Starship SN9 sitting on the launch pad with the build site in the background ahead of its test flight. Photo Credit: Jared Krahn/ Wikimedia Commons

Blue Origin criticized Starship’s complexity and how SpaceX’s facility in Texas has “never conducted an orbital launch.” But Musk’s company has launched more than 100 successful orbital launches with its Falcon 9 rockets, while Blue Origin has never reached the orbit. 

SpaceX is preparing for the first orbital launch attempt of Starship after a Starship prototype completed a high-altitude launch and landing in May.

Blue Origin also noted that SpaceX’s plan requires a complex and tedious process that has never been done before.

Blue Origin also said Starship’s exit requires an elevator to bring astronauts to the surface, while Blue Origin only requires a long ladder.

However, Bezos company did not compare the cost, which NASA cited as a major factor in its decision. Musk’s company bid $2.9 billion, while Blue Origin bid $5.99 billion.

During NASA’s initial awarding of contracts for the concept development, SpaceX received $135 million, Dynetics got $253 million, and Blue Origin was awarded $579 million.

Blue Origin’s lander

According to Blue Origin, its lunar lander “system is entirely built on heritage systems and proven technologies that are flying today.” The space company also has exceptional rocket engine and landing technologies. It also emphasized that it has a simpler approach than SpaceX’s, as Blue Origin’s lander only necessitates three launches and has lesser in-space rendezvouses.

Source: MSN News

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