The Questions Raised By Protests Against Spacex’s Lunar Lander Win – Washington Technology

No shock right here: Dynetics and Blue Origin have filed protests against NASA’s award of the lunar lander contract to SpaceX. Of their protests at the government Accountability Office, Dynetics (a subsidiary of Leidos) and Blue Origin argue NASA didn’t conduct a correct evaluation. The contract that went to SpaceX is worth $2.89 billion, but the bid by Blue Origin got here in at $6 billion, based on the primary report by the new York Times. If it had, considered one of their proposals would have been selected. Blue Origin claims NASA went back to negotiate with SpaceX over the pricing but didn’t give them the identical alternative. Blue Origin additionally argues NASA misjudged some great benefits of its proposal and downplayed the technical challenges SpaceX faces, the corporate instructed the NY Times. In a press release, Dynetics said it has issues with several features of the acquisition course of and technical evaluation that GAO should handle. Dynetics additionally emphasised the need for persevering with competition to ensure the success of the program.
NASA says it picked SpaceX because it had the best and most reasonably priced proposal, and solely SpaceX as a result of it didn’t have sufficient funds to pick a second firm. Last yr, Congress gave NASA a quarter of what it requested to fund two separate lunar landers. Blue Origin and Dynetics, the 2 shedding companies, filed protests with the country’s prime watchdog agency, the government Accountability Office, triggering a pause on SpaceX’s award that could final until August 4th. Among dozens of counterarguments, Blue Origin says NASA unfairly gave SpaceX an opportunity to negotiate its contract that other bidders didn’t get and unfairly snubbed its roughly $6 billion proposal. The stakes are high: If the GAO helps Blue Origin’s arguments, it might reset the whole lunar lander competition and delay NASA’s goal to put humans on the Moon by 2024 – the main deadline within the agency’s Artemis program.
SpaceX is edging nearer to putting people aboard Crew Dragon. The personal spaceflight firm is planning to check the capsule’s launch escape system on January 18th via an in-flight demonstration. The dry run will verify that the spacecraft can carry its crew to security if there’s a problem in the course of the ascent stage. The company has already examined launch pad aborts and parachutes. However, SpaceX accomplished a static fire test of the Falcon 9’s first stage on January 11th, clearing the path for the upcoming Crew Dragon demonstration. If all goes in keeping with plan, this will be the last main check for Crew Dragon before it’s permitted to hold astronauts. Dates for checks like these may be tentative because of weather or final-minute glitches. SpaceX still hopes the relevant crewed test mission (Demo-2) will happen in early 2020. It’s possible you’ll not have to wait lengthy to see the company fully take part in human spaceflight, then, even if it might take a while earlier than Crew Dragons are commonly ferrying folks to and from the International Space Station. All products recommended by Engadget are chosen by our editorial workforce, independent of our dad or mum company. A few of our stories embody affiliate hyperlinks. If you buy one thing by one of these links, we could earn an affiliate commission.
Elon Musk's SpaceX delays Starlink satellite launch over strong winds - Business InsiderSpaceX safely returned 4 astronauts from the International Space Station on Sunday, making the first US crew splashdown in darkness for the reason that Apollo eight moonshot. The Dragon capsule parachuted into the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Panama City, Florida, simply before 3am, ending the second astronaut flight for Elon Musk’s firm. It was an specific journey dwelling, lasting simply six and a half hours. “We welcome you back to planet Earth and thanks for flying SpaceX,” mission management radioed moments after splashdown. The astronauts, three American and one Japanese, flew back in the same capsule – named Resilience – wherein they launched from Nasa’s Kennedy Space Center in November. “Are they transferrable?” SpaceX replied that the astronauts would have to examine with the company’s marketing department. “We’ll take those miles,” stated spacecraft commander Mike Hopkins. The 167-day mission was the longest for astronauts launching from the US. Within a few minutes, Hopkins reported he may see mild from the approaching recovery boats out of the capsule’s window. Saturday night’s undocking left seven individuals at the house station, 4 of whom arrived per week in the past via SpaceX. “Earthbound!” Nasa astronaut Victor Glover, the capsule’s pilot, tweeted after departing the station.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – SpaceX efficiently launched its first Falcon 9 rocket of the 12 months Thursday (Jan. 6), sending a new stack of Starlink satellites into orbit from Florida, before nailing a landing at sea. The beforehand flown Falcon 9 rocket blasted off at 4:49 p.m. EST (2149 GMT) from NASA’s Pad 39A on the Kennedy Space Center here in Florida, carrying a stack of 49 Starlink satellites. SpaceX engineer Jessie Anderson mentioned in the course of the launch broadcast. Approximately nine minutes after liftoff, the rocket’s first stage returned to Earth and touched down on the deck of SpaceX’s latest drone ship, “A Shortfall of Gravitas,” marking the corporate’s first successful launch and landing of the brand new year. Weather forecasters on the 45th Space Delta predicted splendid weather situations for liftoff, and Mother Nature did not disappoint. It was a crystal clear day here in Florida and the rocket could be seen all through its climb by the atmosphere, disappearing from sight when its first stage separated and began the trek back to Earth. SpaceX confirmed the profitable deployment of the forty nine Starlink satellites by way of Twitter about 1 hour, 20 minutes after liftoff. Thursday’s liftoff kicks off one other motion-packed yr for the California-based mostly aerospace firm.