SpaceX finally withdraws its protest against a contract signed between NASA and United Launch Alliance. The deal was signed on January 31, 2019. It is regarding a planetary science mission.
After the deal was signed SpaceX protested against the same. They filed a complaint on 11th February 11, 2019 to protest against NASA’s procurement policy. The complaint was raised with the United States Government Accountability Office. It is known as RLSP- 35. The contract is regarding the launch of Lucy, which is scheduled to be launched in October, 2021. The main target of this mission is to observe the Trojan asteroids which rotate around the sun in the same orbit as Jupiter.
SpaceX has not informed why they decided to withdraw the complaint. As per GAO, SpaceX raised another complaint on March 25, 2019. The same was also withdrawn on April 4, 2019. The company spokesperson did not comment why 2 separate complaints were raised by SpaceX.
In the February 2019 complaint, SpaceX informed it could perform the mission at a lower cost than what ULA has demanded. United Launch Alliance had asked for $148.3 million for the same. This alliance is a partnership between a Boeing and Lockheed. A spokesperson from the organization informed that NASA should not waste money on Boeing and Lockheed for the same project. He also commented that as the money is from the Americans, NASA has no right to waste that money.
On the other hand, ULA informed that they were selected by NASA because they have assured to launch Lucy within the given deadlines. The spacecraft is supposed to launch in October 2021. There is a strict time window of 20 days. If the craft misses this window, the mission will not flow as per the plan. Lucy is supposed to fly by 7 Trojan asteroids.