The protective order was first publicly posted Monday.
Details of the lawsuit are not publicly available because the documents are under seal, but Blue Origin claims it is an “attempt to remedy the flaws in the acquisition process found in NASA’s Human Landing System,” the company said in a statement. Human Landing System, or HLS, is the formal name of the program that’s at the heart of this legal battle, and it seeks to use private-sector contracting to develop, build and test the vehicle that will put astronauts on the moon for the first time in a half-century.
After initially pledging to offer multiple contracts to spur the development of at least two lunar landers that could compete against each other, NASA announced in April that it was giving only a single award to SpaceX for $2.9 billion, citing costs as a primary reason for the decision. Congress did not award NASA all the money it had requested for the HLS program.
“We firmly believe that the issues identified in this procurement and its outcomes must be addressed to restore fairness, create competition, and ensure a safe return to the Moon for America,” Blue Origin said in a statement.
A judge granted Blue Origin’s request to keep the court complaint under seal, which argued that making the information public could expose “proprietary information, trade secrets, and confidential financial information,” and cause “severe competitive harm,” according to court documents file with the US Court of Federal Claims.
Blue Origin had submitted a $5.9 billion bid and proposed working as a “National Team” alongside aerospace industry giants such as Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin.