NASA suspends SpaceX’s $2.9 billion moon lander contract after rivals protest

NASA suspends SpaceX’s $2.9 billion moon lander contract after rivals protest


A digital illustration of SpaceX’s Starship lunar lander sitting on the Moon’s surface, as proposed to NASA under its Artemis program. | Image: SpaceX

NASA has suspended work on SpaceX’s new $2.9 billion lunar lander contract while a federal watchdog agency adjudicates two protests over the award, the agency said Friday.

Putting the Human Landing System (or HLS) work on hold until the GAO makes a decision on the two protests means SpaceX won’t immediately receive its first chunk of the $2.9 billion award, nor will it commence the initial talks with NASA that would normally take place at the onset of a major contract.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX was picked by NASA on April 16th to build the agency’s first human lunar lander since the Apollo program, as the agency opted to rely on just one company for a high-profile contract that many in the space industry expected to go to two companies.

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