Deep Space Systems has filed an appeal with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) over NASA’s decision to award Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contracts to three rival companies.
On May 31, NASA awarded contracts worth $253.5 million to Astrobotic, Intuitive Machines and OrbitBeyond to carry up to 23 payloads to the moon on three commercial missions scheduled for launch between September 2020 and July 2021.
Deep Space Systems, which is based in Littleton, Colo., filed a bid protest with GAO on June 24. The government watchdog is scheduled to render a decision on the protest on Oct. 2.
The GAO website does not provide any details on the reason for the protest. Deep Space Systems has not responded to requests for comment.
NASA terminated its $97 million contract with OrbitBeyond on July 28 after the company informed the space agency that internal corporate challenges would prevent it from delivering its payloads to the lunar surface in a timely manner. The company had targeted a landing in September 2020.
NASA’s CLPS program pays companies to deliver payloads to the moon rather than having the space agency commission and build its own landers and orbiters. Nine companies are qualified to bid on CLPS task orders.
Picture Caption (via Facebook): Concept art of the new lunar rover proposed by Deep Space Systems Inc., one of nine vendors awarded a contract on November 29 as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) Program. Well done, Michelle Caillouet Bailey, Stephen Bailey, and the whole Deep Space Team!
Editor’s Note: Deep Space Systems is partnered with Intuitive Machines, which is another of the nine companies chosen from the CLPS program.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Nine U.S. companies now are eligible to bid on NASA delivery services to the lunar surface through Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contracts, as one of the first steps toward long-term scientific study and human exploration of the Moon and eventually Mars.
HOUSTON (Intuitive Machines PR) — Intuitive Machines in cooperation with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has been selected by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) to develop a Terrestrial Return Vehicle (TRV) that will enable on demand, rapid return of experiments from the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory.
Through this commercial service, Intuitive Machines will enable researchers to regularly and quickly return small samples and components from the ISS to Earth. The timely delivery of critical or perishable samples is essential in enabling new and exciting research aboard the ISS National Laboratory.