- NASA will pause its SpaceX moon-landing contract until November.
- The delay gives courts time to arbitrate a lawsuit from Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, a SpaceX competitor.
- Blue Origin sued NASA on Monday, and has protested against SpaceX winning the contract.
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NASA has agreed to delay work on its $2.9 billion moon-lander contract with SpaceX while a federal court reviews a lawsuit brought by Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, which originally competed with SpaceX for the contract.
The space agency has agreed to pause the contract until November 1 while the US Court of Federal Claims arbitrates the suit, according to a legal filing Thursday.
"All parties" agreed to a pause on the moon-lander work in exchange for the "expedited litigation schedule," a NASA spokesperson told Reuters in a statement.
"NASA officials are continuing to work with the Department of Justice to review the details of the case and look forward to a timely resolution of this matter," they said.
In April, it awarded Elon Musk's SpaceX a $2.9 billion contract to build a lunar spacecraft, a decision that Bezos criticized in a lengthy blogpost on Blue Origin's website. He argued that NASA's "single source approach" had put "an end to meaningful competition to years to come."
Blue Origin filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that month, which the federal spending watchdog rejected in July. NASA only had enough funding to award one contract, and "did not violate procurement law or regulation," the GAO said in a statement.
Blue Origin stepped up its challenge on Monday when it filed a lawsuit, which is under seal.
A Blue Origin spokesperson told Insider in a statement Monday that it wanted to "remedy flaws in the acquisition process found in NASA's Human Landing System."
NASA, Blue Origin, and SpaceX did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.