Last week, NASA announced that it will delay work on the decade, which means that SpaceX will equip NASA with a moon lander intended to land humans on the moon again.
This is something they do after competitors to SpaceX in the decade, Blue Origin and Dynetics, formally appealed to NASA’s decision that the SpaceX Starship spacecraft will be the only lunar landing project in which NASA is investing. We wrote a little bit about Blue Origin’s appeal last week, which you can read more about here. Among other things, Dynetics writes in its appeal that NASA’s decision to award the entire moon landing contract to SpaceX is anti-competitive and that NASA has chosen the more dangerous alternative to a human landing on the moon.
NASA wrote in a statement that it is now temporarily halting work on future SpaceX lunar landers:
“On April 26, NASA was notified that the Blue Origin consortium and Dynetics had filed protests against Option A for choosing a human landing system with the US Government Accountability Office (GAO). Pursuant to the GAO protests, NASA instructed SpaceX to advance In the HLS contract it is suspended until the GAO resolves all pending lawsuits related to these purchases. NASA cannot provide additional comment due to the pending lawsuit. “
There is still no information on when this dispute will be resolved, which is required for NASA and the company or companies that will participate in the next lunar lander for humans to resume their work. However, this could mean that the original US plan to land astronauts on the moon in 2024 would be less likely than it actually is.