Mon, Jan 19, 2009
Says Its Proposal Represented Better Value Than Other
The National Aeronautics and Space
Administration has been compelled to suspend last month's contract
awards to two companies for cargo missions to the International
Space Station, after a third filed a complaint with the US
Government Accountability Office.
CBC News reports the protest was submitted last week to the GAO
by PlanetSpace, a consortium of Boeing, Lockheed-Martin and Alliant
Techsystems, alleging its bid for the ISS missions was passed by --
despite having higher evaluative rankings than the other two
The protest stated, "[PlanetSpace] received a higher mission
suitability score from NASA's source evaluation board and was lower
in cost than one of the two proposals selected by NASA. Thus, the
PlanetSpace proposal represented better value to the
Contractors submitted bids last year to provide a
commercial-cargo transportation system capable of hauling 20 tons
of cargo to the ISS over an eight-year period, with flights to
begin in 2010.
After evaluating the proposals, NASA awarded Space Exploration
Technologies, better known as SpaceX, with a $1.6 billion contract
for 12 cargo flights, while Orbital Sciences Corporation received a
$1.9 billion contract for eight cargo flights.
According to The Wall Street Journal, NASA senior official
William Gerstenmaier indicated the decision was based on
PlanetSpace's "complete lack of experience as a prime contractor,"
and expressed doubts about its ability to manage technical risks
and deliver what it promised, calling its "likelihood of success
NASA has suspended work on the contracts, and has 30 days to
make a formal response to the GAO regarding PlanetSpace's
complaint. A final ruling by the GAO is expected by April 29.
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