The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) ordered Elon Musk's SpaceX to suspend work on a contract he won for the development of a lunar space module, awaiting a decision by competitors in the US Government Accounts Chamber, reported by CNBC on Friday.
NASA's decision means SpaceX must cease any work specifically related to the lunar program contract until the General Administration of Control (GAO) makes a decision, which is expected no later than August 4th.
Earlier this month, NASA signed contracts for the supply of space technology with SpaceX Elon Musk, Blue Origin of billionaire Jeff Bezos and defense contractor Dynetics. This high-profile project aims to return people to the moon for the first time since 1972.
Blue Origin filed a protest with the GAO on Monday, arguing, among other things, that NASA gave SpaceX the opportunity to reconsider its application, but did not give Blue Origin such an opportunity. Blue Origin also claims the move expands SpaceX's "monopoly" control over space exploration.
The GAO has confirmed that Dynetics has also challenged NASA's contract with SpaceX.
In line with the GAO's protests, NASA has instructed SpaceX that work on the HLS (Human Landing System) contract is on hold until the GAO resolves all pending litigation related to this purchase, ”the agency said in Friday.
Elon Musk's SpaceX won a NASA contract to deliver astronauts to the lunar surface earlier in April. NASA planned that four astronauts would be transported to the lunar station on the Orion spacecraft, from there two of them would go to the Moon in SpaceX's Starship.